Hazard is back to his best – Shearer

28 Aug

Eden Hazard and Antonio Conte

Chelsea’s new manager Antonio Conte has helped transform Eden Hazard, says Alan Shearer

Chelsea forward Eden Hazard is back playing his best football, says Match of the Day pundit Alan Shearer.

The Belgian, 25, the PFA’s player of the year in 2015, scored the opening goal in the 3-0 win over Burnley and produced a superb all-round display.

“We are seeing that guy from two years ago,” former England and Newcastle striker Shearer said.

“The first thing manager Antonio Conte realised he had to do was get him on side. He knows he’s the match-winner.”

Hazard found the net on 13 occasions during the 2014-15 season as Chelsea won the title. However, he lost form during the first half of the 2015-16 season as the Blues underperformed, leading to the departure of manager Jose Mourinho.

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Conte happy with Chelsea clean sheet

Ruud Gullit, who helped Chelsea win the FA Cup in 1997 as player-manager, also said Hazard had rediscovered his best form.

“This was Hazard at his best, when he’s facing players one-on-one,” the Dutch Euro 1988 winner added.

“This is Hazard when he has fun. I don’t want him to chase back.”

The former Fifa world player of the year suggested that the signing of defensive midfielder N’Golo Kante from Leicester has allowed Hazard to focus on attacking.

“Kante is like [former Chelsea midfielder] Claude Makelele. He’s always there when you need him,” added Gullit.

“Hazard doesn’t need to track back anymore.”

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