Chelsea endured a difficult night as they drew Arsenal 0-0 at Stamford Bridge. The Blues came into the match as clear favourites thanks to a good run of form and Arsenal’s dismal start to the campaign. But the game was far from what was expected.
Arsenal had more of the clear-cut chances. They literally ran over the Fabregas-Kante midfield pairing as they looked to go back with more than just one point. Chelsea’s players looked slightly jaded and underperformed by their standards.
The performance surely will not have gone down well with the fans and even Antonio Conte but the latter is in part responsible.
Chelsea’s talisman Eden Hazard has returned from injury and featured in three games for Chelsea this season but all have been appearances from the bench.
He played for 12 minutes against Leicester last weekend before playing for 32 minutes against Qarabag in the Champions League and even against Arsenal he was handed a meagre 20 minutes.
It is evident that Conte does not want to risk his star player and aggravate his injury but he has been treating Hazard’s return far too gingerly.
The tricky midfielder showed in those 20 minutes that he can run at defences, produce moments that ooze with class even in tight situations. He is the kind of player that can find angles in angles and pull something out of the bag even on his darkest days. With the month going to get even more hectic as Chelsea have difficult trips to Stoke and Atletico before they welcome a rampant Manchester City, Hazard needs to be drafted back in. It does not matter at whose cost because he is hands down ‘THE’ best player in the team and arguably one of the league’s best.
Also, Tiemoue Bakayoko is a worth a mention. The big burly midfielder seems to be completely fit now. His cameo against Arsenal showed that he can be a major force for Chelsea.
He had been on for a mere two minutes when he picked up the ball and drove through the Arsenal midfield and straight at the heart of their defence.
That run roused the Chelsea fans and if the midfielder can do such things on a more consistent basis, it will surely offer Chelsea a new dynamic in terms of midfield strength.
Bakayoko was drafted in as a replacement for Nemanja Matic and he must start every game now like his predecessor did. Conte mentioned that Bakayoko has to learn what to do with the ball when it is at his feet indicating that he is not ready to sacrifice Fabregas’ creativity to draft the Frenchman in. If that is the case he must be ready to shift to a 3-5-2 now because Bakayoko’s presence and him working in tandem with N’Golo Kante could work wonders for the Blues.