Realistically, it will take more than a year for Chelsea to experience Champions League nights at Stamford Bridge once again. A 4-2 aggregate loss against Paris St Germain effectively sealed the solitary hope that the blues had of qualifying for the Champions League next season. Being 10 points behind the top four in the Premier League does not provide much hope in this regard.
Chelsea supporters were in no mood to savour the night when the team appeared to give everything against a strong PSG team. Betting companies place PSG at 7/1 to win the Champions league this season. Eden Hazard was singled out by the supporters for his ineffective performance once again. The Belgian has been woeful by any standards and he certainly did not help himself by swapping shirts with Angel di Maria at half-time. Hazard continues to be heavily linked with PSG and it looks like the blues may not miss him on the basis of this performance.
Hazard tried to make penetrating runs without much success whilst he also struggled with coming up with an end product. Chelsea fans do not mind losing to a stronger opposition, but the ‘friendly encounter’ attitude from the 25-year-old has not been taken lightly.
Even manager Guus Hiddink refused to find any fault in the fans booing Hazard when he had to come off with a knock. The manager said:
“I’m aware. It [shirt swapping at half-time] should not be done. But in some countries it’s usual that you do it [at half-time] and not after the game.
“Maybe they’re both used to doing that. Don’t overvalue this issue.”
However, there was support for the winger from a few quarters. Branislav Ivanovic tried to pacify the supporters by claiming that Hazard is not 100% just yet. He feels that the Belgian made a major impact in the 77 minutes on the pitch.
The stats, though, tell a different story. Pedro has not been in the best of form since joining Chelsea, but even he managed a pass accuracy of 89% while taking on two shots. Hazard had a passing accuracy of just 81% and was dispossessed two times.
Diego Costa also met with some stern criticism just after the exit of Jose Mourinho, but Chelsea fans have shown that they forget everything bad about a player should he give his 100% on the pitch. Hazard may be on the receiving end of some criticism, but there is no doubt that he can once again become a fan favourite.