Eden Hazard stole the show in what is likely to prove his last game for Chelsea before his expected move to Real Madrid this summer. Here, Simon Peach examines his man-of-the-match performance in Chelsea’s 4-1 Europa League victory over Arsenal in Baku.
Hazard’s constant search for work took him right across the attacking spectrum, and even at times into his own half as he sought to jolt Chelsea into life.
And that elusive roaming role not only created space for his team-mates, but also forced Arsenal into defensive lapses, of which he took full advantage.
Hazard’s slow start mirrored that of Chelsea, but the arch creator quickly found his feet on a stodgy playing surface. Hazard’s crisp pass into Jorginho allowed the Italy midfielder to stub a neat lay-off to Olivier Giroud for Chelsea’s first chance of the match. The France striker’s scuffed effort afforded Petr Cech just enough time to tip the ball to safety though, in a missed chance the Blues were immediately to lament. His fine pass for Pedro laid on the goal that perhaps turned the tie totally in Chelsea’s favour too.
Two goals and an assist is a fine return for a final by any standards, and certainly merited winning this trophy for Chelsea.
The 28-year-old almost rolled home his penalty, so confident was his strike from the spot-kick. And then he calmly tucked home after Giroud’s cross, to put the perfect finish on what has proved a sumptuous Chelsea career.