Chelsea romped to a 5-0 win over Stoke City on Saturday despite forward Eden Hazard watching on from the bench. The Blues are now second in the Premier League following their win and manager Antonio Conte may be happy to keep things the same when the transfer window opens in January.
Chelsea scored goals through Antonio Rudiger, Danny Drinkwater, Pedro, Willian and Davide Zappacosta in Saturday’s performance. Conte’s men had the match done and dusted in the opening 23 minutes at Stamford Bridge while Hazard could only watch on from the substitute’s bench.
The Blues are 13 points behind Manchester City, however, that lead could be extended to 16 by the end of the weekend.
According to The Express, Conte is not too worried about new players being brought in during the January transfer window. The newspaper has also stated the manager has already given up on the Premier League title and will focus the team’s attention on the Carabao Cup, FA Cup and Champions League competitions.
“I am very happy to work with my players – I have had conversations with the club – and they know my opinion,” Conte explained during an interview on Match of the Day following the game.
“I am the coach and I look after the things on the pitch, if the club can help us, it would be okay, but if they can’t it will be okay as well.
“I think at this moment it doesn’t depend on us, because let’s be honest, Man City are on a fantastic run.
“We just have to give everything in every game to try and get three points, and then at the end of the season we will see what happens.”
While Conte is said to not be concerned with bringing in or selling players, it has been reported he would let Hazard go to Real Madrid. Los Blancos are also interested in signing centre-back David Luiz, who has fallen out of favour at Stamford Bridge. However, Arsenal are also interested in the Brazilian.
Hazard is joint-second for Chelsea in goals with defender Marcos Alonso. The Belgian has tallied five goals. Although it is currently off his pace from last season when Hazard tallied 16 goals, it is still better than his four goal performance in 2015-16.
If Hazard is not in Conte’s plans for the future, it begs the question who the Italian manager would use as his main attacking creator.
While Hazard may have fallen out of favour with his manager, it appears Willian has emerged from the doghouse. The Brazilian has started 11 games in the Premier League while coming off of the substitute’s bench 10 times. In his last six games, Willian has tallied three goals and four assists.
The winger could be brought in as Hazard’s replacement as the team’s creator. However, with the Champions League continuing in February, Hazard is a player that the team desperately need for the competition. Conte has fallen out with players at Stamford Bridge previously, including Diego Costa and Nemanja Matic. Hazard could just be another name to add to the list.