Hazard confident Chelsea can spring another surprise against Manchester City

Eden Hazard believes Chelsea can repeat their surprise trick of beating Manchester City next week.

The Blues responded from the humiliating 4-0 loss at Bournemouth – their worst league defeat in over 22 years – by beating Huddersfield 5-0 at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

Hazard scored twice to take his season’s tally to 15, while Gonzalo Higuain netted a brace for his first goals for Chelsea, who travel to the Etihad Stadium next Sunday.

Pep Guardiola and Maurizio Sarri
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola (left) and Chelsea head coach Maurizio Sarri meet in the Premier League next Sunday (Adam Davy/PA)

Chelsea have lost five of their last 13 Premier League games, but one of the wins in that period was the December 8 defeat of City, which came as a surprise to Pep Guardiola’s men, who had been unbeaten in 21 prior games.

“It’s going to be a different game than two or three months ago,” Hazard told Chelsea TV.

“I think they will have the ball. City have these kind of players to play together.

“We will defend well and then we will score one goal or two.”

The City match is the first of a difficult run, which includes the February 24 Carabao Cup final against the same opponents.

Chelsea also face Manchester United in the FA Cup fifth round on February 18, either side of Europa League last-32 legs with Malmo of Sweden and Tottenham in the Premier League, after the Wembley final.

“We need to be focused,” Hazard said.

“This month is going to be hard, but we are Chelsea. We can beat everyone if we want.”

On-loan Juventus striker Higuain and Hazard teamed up for the first time at Bournemouth, but there was far greater optimism following the win over Huddersfield.

Sarri was excited by the potential for the partnership after being backed by Chelsea to bring in 31-year-old Higuain, who scored 36 goals in 35 Serie A games at Sarri’s Napoli in 2015-16.

Hazard added: “He’s a great striker. He’s a bit less of a target man than (Olivier) Giroud, but he can hold the ball, he can play one touches. He’s intelligent.

“In the box he’s unbelievable. He will score more goals.”

Jan Siewer
Huddersfield boss Jan Siewert sees reasons for optimism despite being bottom of the Premier League (Nigel French/PA)

Huddersfield may have now lost 11 of their last 12 fixtures – the goalless draw with Cardiff the exception – to sit 13 points adrift of Premier League safety, but boss Jan Siewert saw reasons to be cheerful at Stamford Bridge.

Had Aaron Mooy’s sixth-minute header gone in, it would have changed the whole afternoon, while Town’s attackers provoked uncertainty among Chelsea’s defenders.

Siewert said: “We were the ones who had the first chance. We were willing to play forward.

“We feel we created some good moments, but we have to be much more aggressive and willing to score.

“Sometimes we missed the moment of a shot or a pass.”

Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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