Hazard happy in false nine role under Sarri

The Belgian is enjoying another fine campaign and his fantastic scoring record this season is due in part to him operating in a more central role

Eden Hazard has said he will play wherever Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri needs him to and has admitted he does not mind playing though the middle.

In the past, the 27-year-old has stated that he prefers to play on the wing, but under new Blues boss Sarri, Hazard has played both as a winger and as a ‘false nine’.

In fact, some of the Belgium international’s best performances this season have come when playing up front, and he has enjoyed a superb scoring campaign under the former Napoli man.

Hazard has netted 10 goals in 18 Premier League games this season, and looks set to beat his pervious high of 16, which he registered in 2016-17.

“Sarri told me before the season started that playing as a number nine could be an option,” Hazard told Chelsea’s official club website.

“It is good not just to be a target man, but also as a false nine where I can move, I can drop, I can go deep, I can go on the wing.”

“I like to change a lot, but we also have two great strikers. We will see. It depends on who is on the pitch,” he added.

Hazard did play through the middle at times under previous manager Antonio Conte, but he failed to stand out and often grew frustrated, dropping into deeper positions.

However, Sarri has made a number of tactical changes from his predecessor’s regime, which seem to have benefited Hazard. 

“We do a lot of tactical work, and you can see on the pitch we have improved a lot from last year,” he explained.

“We have adapted to the new system. We have brought new players. Jorginho is helping a lot, Kovacic, the new goalkeeper Kepa is already very good. Everything is going well. The manager is talking a lot to us which is good.”

Hazard was again on target as he bagged two in Chelsea’s 2-1 victory against Watford on Boxing Day, and also saw him his score his 100th goal for the club.

The win moved the Blues two points clear of Arsenal in the Champions League spots, a position they will hope to strengthen in upcoming games against Crystal Palace and Southampton.

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