Chelsea knock Liverpool out after Hazard’s sublime goal + a quick look at the Belgian’s form

We’re back with a blog! It’s great to be here, I really missed it for those few days. If you read my update on the temporary site, you would have seen the reason for us being away. Our hosting company had a disaster, sending their servers down on Friday night, and not being fully restored until yesterday. I’m not going to get back into all of that again, but nothing like that has ever happened to them before and they say it will never happen again. I don’t anticipate another time down like that again. Shit does happen though, so it’s likely there’ll be problems again in the future at some stage, but I hope we’re talking about years away.

I was a little bit unlucky in that I was only away on holidays the week before. If the problem had happened that week it wouldn’t have made a difference to me, but it’s still not the end of the world. It was a little bit annoying, but nothing more than that. It was just frustrating that I had been saying that things would be really kicking off here as soon as I came back from holidays and then I couldn’t keep that promise, but again, what can you do. Anyway, it’s great to be back, and things will get back to normal here now. In a little while, it will be like this never happened. Let’s get on with the football! Of course, I’m not going to go through everything it is I’ve missed, because there’s far too much to cover.

Carabao Cup

We had Carabao Cup action on Tuesday and Wednesday. Again, I’m just going to look at Wednesday because I won’t have the time to look at Tuesday as well.

The big game of the night was Liverpool vs Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, where Chelsea came out on top, winning 2-1. I didn’t really see the game, just one or two bits, so I can’t give any real analysis on it, unfortunately. Daniel Sturridge opened the scoring with a fairly spectacular effort; a little while after he missed an open goal. As soon as I saw it, I remembered Fernando Torres’ miss for Chelsea against Manchester United. Sturridge’s wasn’t anywhere near as bad as that, but it was still fairly bad.

Chelsea scored the equaliser with just over 10 minutes to play through Emerson. But the big talking point of the night was the winner, which came four minutes from time. Eden Hazard picked the ball up out wide on the right, and drove in towards goal, beating Naby Keita and Alberto Moreno all too easily along the way. He then smashed one into the bottom corner. It was a wonderful goal by the Belgian, who is on fire this season. I saw a headline asking if it was his best ever goal. Not a chance, for me. It was wonderful, and it was only so easy because he made it look like that, but he’s scored better goals. The one he scored against Arsenal was better, in my opinion, but the defending for that goal was awful too.

I find it interesting to see how well Hazard is playing at the moment. He’s unplayable, and almost looks like he’ll score in every game. I wanted to write an article about him a while ago saying that he has to do more, and that playing for Maurizio Sarri could really bring out the best in him. For one reason or another, I didn’t write that article, but I think we’re starting to see the best of him now.

Claims that he’s the best player in the Premier League are still a bit early though, for me. Sure, at the moment, based on form, he probably is. But after Mo Salah and Kevin De Bruyne did it for all of last season, they’re still ahead of him. Hazard needs to do it more consistently and for a longer time before I’m putting him up there. Other people will think differently, and that’s fine, but that’s what I think.

I never doubted Hazard’s ability, because it was always clear to see that he’s a wonderful player. I’ve always felt that he didn’t do it enough though. I wanted to see him doing it in every game, and now we’re starting to see that. Whether he can keep it up for the whole season is anybody’s guess. If he can play like this until May, he’ll be the player of the year. He may even drag Chelsea to a league title. The Blues are very hard to stop when their talisman is in that kind of form, so we’ll see if he can keep it up.

Gianfranco Zola is in no doubt as to how good Hazard is. He thinks he’s one of the best in the world.

“He’s not only one of the best in the Premier League – if not the best – he is one of the best in Europe if not the world,” Zola said. “Eden is growing fast in his maturity and the choices he makes on the pitch, and in my opinion we haven’t seen the best of him yet. He’s remarkable.”

If this isn’t Hazard’s best, I’m looking forward to seeing what he’s like at his best. Whatever you think of Hazard, or Chelsea, there’s nothing like seeing a brilliant winger in great form, beating players and scoring great goals. Let’s see if he can get to yet another level.

So, Chelsea go through and Liverpool go out. They play again this weekend, with them facing off in the 5:30pm Saturday kick-off at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League. That one should be absolutely brilliant; I can’t wait.

There were more games on last night. Arsenal beat Brentford 3-1, with Danny Welbeck scoring two and Alexandre Lacazette scoring one. West Ham put eight (!) past Macclesfield, winning 8-0. Michail Antonio, Robert Snodgrass (2), Lucas Perez, Ryan Fredericks, Angelo Ogbonna and Grady Diangana (2) scored the goals.

In Milton Keynes, Spurs ‘hosted’ Watford. the Hornets took the lead through Isaac Success, but Dele Alli, captain for the night, equalised from the spot. Christian Kabasele was sent off for Watford, and Erik Lamela scored four minutes from time, with what seemed to be the winner. That wasn’t to be the case as Etienne Capoue equalised late on. I have heard that this one took a wicked deflection, but I haven’t seen it. So, that was 2-2 at full-time. As we saw on Tuesday night, there’s no extra-time in this round of the Carabao Cup anymore, so they went straight to penalties. Spurs won the shootout 4-2 and through they go.

Yesterday, Everton announced that Jordan Pickford signed a new six-year contract. You can read about that one here.

If you have any interest in Manchester City or Phil Foden, some words from him are here.

Anyway, that’s that from me for now. In a little while, there’ll be another post from Tom, looking at Belgian players in the Premier League. Last week, he looked at Brighton’s managers, spanning from League One, up to the Premier League. This post is another good one.

I’ll be back with more tomorrow, and news will be here and on Twitter throughout the day. Have a good one!

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