HOW CRUCIAL IS HAZARD TO CHELSEA PLAYING AS A LEFT WINGER? CHELSEA ASSISTANT COACH ZOLA GIVES HIS OPINION

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Chelsea star Eden Hazard has been used as a false nine in recent weeks by Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri with Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud failing to impress up front.

Hazard struggled as a false nine in the loss at Arsenal but was back to his best in the win over Tottenham on Thursday as Sarri opted to use him as a left winger.

Hazard was unplayable coming from the left and that is the position where the Belgian enjoys playing.

Asked how crucial Hazard is playing as a left winger, Zola said: “Certainly, when we have teams waiting in their own half, when he plays in a wide area, where he can have more freedom, he gives a lot to his game, he can variate his game a bit more.

“I believe with his potential he can do well as a main striker, more when there’s space in front of you.

“Anyway, I believe when he plays in that position and he’s got a target in front of him where he can play off him he can do even better. I’m looking forward to seeing that.”

Sarri questioned Hazard’s leadership qualities before the game against Tottenham and the Belgian responded with a man of the match performance.

Asked if Hazard needs that sort of criticism at times, Zola said: “I don’t know, honestly.

“I think I have an idea of Eden, but what he showed me yesterday is the reaction of a great player with great personality.

“I’m looking forward to seeing him until the end of the season and for more than that. It’s important that you react in that way. I was very impressed and pleased with Eden’s performance.”

Chelsea completed the loan signing of Gonzalo Higuain from Juventus this week, a move that will see Hazard return to his natural left wing position.

Hazard has hailed the arrival of the Argentine striker and is looking forward to playing with a top striker like Higuain.

“For me as a winger you know I like to play with top players,” Hazard said.

“With Chelsea I had the chance to play with one of the best in Diego Costa for three years, and I think Higuain is one of the best.

“My position is more winger than No 9, but me, I just try to have fun with my striker, with the other winger, so when the striker is there it is good for me.

“We all know that I like to play the give and go with my striker, so if the striker just goes deep, I am going to be in trouble, but Giroud understands this, that’s why I like to play with him.

“We all know that, and I think Higuain is going to do the same, and of course he is a fantastic striker, he has scored a lot of goals, when you see his career, Real Madrid, Napoli, Juventus, he has always scored goals.”

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OTONY
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