Chelsea star Eden Hazard believes he is a better player now than when he inspired his side to the Premier League title in 2014-15.
The Belgium international has recaptured some of his most spectacular form this season after struggling badly to make an impact in Chelsea’s miserable title defence last term.
Hazard scored a stunning solo goal in Saturday’s 3-1 win over Arsenal – a result that saw Antonio Conte’s side hold a nine-point gap at the top of the table with 14 matches left to play.
The 26-year-old was named the league’s best player by the Professional Footballers’ Association and Football Writers’ Association when the Blues won the title two years ago, but he feels he is eclipsing those standards.
Asked if he is now a more rounded player, he said: “Yes, maybe. With experience you get more. I think I’m a better player. But I think we are in better form as a team. It’s not just me.
“A couple of years ago I was on fire. Maybe I can score more goals this season. We have a lot of games to play, we will see.
“I try to be this kind of player that when I get the ball I do something. From the moment I get the ball, I try to do something.
“Sometimes in the past, I don’t touch the ball for 20-30 minutes. But now I try to touch the ball all the time and play my football for my team-mates.
“The manager asks a lot of me. A lot. When we don’t have the ball, he wants me to defend, to close inside and be ready to chase the diagonal [pass], and when we do have it I have to counterattack and be free, always trying to do some ‘magic’ like I did here
“We all enjoyed this game. It’s always good to score this kind of beautiful goal in a big game, and this was a big game.”
Hazard shrugged off a robust challenge from Francis Coquelin en route to scoring Chelsea’s second goal against Arsenal and was the subject of a strong impact from Shkodran Mustafi that earned the defender a booking.
The former Lille winger was seen limping after the final whistle but he says that taking knocks from the opposition makes him feel he has been at the heart of the action.
“When I get a lot of kicks, I feel really in the game,” he said. “And when people don’t touch me, it tells me I’m not doing well. No good.
“I’m not saying I like to be kicked, but it’s good for me to feel I am in the game. Definitely. A motivation.”
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