If one thing has become apparent over the first four months of the current Premier League campaign, it is that the trio Chelsea boast through the heart of their team in Juan Mata, Eden Hazard and Oscar are shining a bright light on what the future holds for the West London club.
From the first whistle of the season away at Wigan Athletic, when Hazard tore debutant Ivan Ramis to shreds to inspire an early two-goal lead, to Juan Mata winning October’s player of the month award, to Oscar’s breathtaking goals in Europe against Juventus and Shakhtar Donetsk, the trio have been heavily involved in everything good about the Blues so far. These three epitomise everything Chelsea are striving to be going forward into a new era and they are delivering at an unexpected speed.
Oscar and Hazard arrived in the summer for large transfer fees that brought with them even larger expectations, Chelsea fought off tough interest from elsewhere to seal the deals and we are starting to see why Roman Abramovich and co went above and beyond to land their men.
Hazard signed from Lille after being named the player of the year in France two years running. Interest from all over Europe was rife but after weeks of rumours and the odd update on his Twitter feed he decided it was Chelsea where he would further his career, much to the delight of the Blues faithful.
Oscar, a somewhat unknown quantity at the time, seemed a riskier signing on the face of it as few on this side of the Atlantic Ocean knew much of him. English football’s first good look at him came in the 2010 Olympic Games in London, where he impressed, and justified the award of the vaunted Brazil No. 10 shirt.
Mata, the more experienced of the three, is into his second season at Stamford Bridge and is the glue that binds Chelsea’s forward play. He rarely loses the ball and more often than not picks the right pass at the right time, allowing the likes of Oscar and Hazard to show what they can do in areas of the pitch where they can hurt opposition defences. Mata is a much-improved player from last season and should he continue to produce match-winning performances for his club he will surely stake his claim for an extended run in the Spain national team.
Chelsea fans could not have wished for a better transition from the power and direct style that Didier Drogba brought to the club to the fluent, slick approach seen so far, and Roberto Di Matteo must be congratulated for doing so quickly what Andre Villas Boas failed to achieve in the short time he was given last season.
It was not guaranteed that Di Matteo would even be appointed for the current season so the early success he has recorded with this Chelsea side says much about him as a coach. A great manager he may well become, but having a trio of magicians to help week in, week out, is a undoubtedly a blessing.
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