Eden Hazard and Gonzalo Higuain were both at the double as Chelsea were 5-0 winners over Huddersfield Town at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.
It was their first match starting together in South West London in the Premier League, a comfortable win which came less than 72 hours after the duo both started in a heavy 4-0 trouncing away at Bournemouth.
For the majority of the past 18 months, Chelsea have been too reliant on Eden Hazard to get the goals and provide all of the magic needed to guide them to success. Alvaro Morata’s inconsistency combined with both his and Olivier Giroud’s lack of firepower is ultimately one of the key reasons as to why the Blues have failed to become title contenders.
Four of the hosts’ five goals against the Terriers came via Higuain and Hazard and it wasn’t just because that they both netted braces why their potential together could be frightening.
During that match, the duo had 21 pass combinations together during that match, six more than Hazard has managed with any other striker in the Premier League this season.
The stats that show why Gonzalo Higuain could help to bring out the best in Eden Hazard at Chelsea.
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) February 2, 2019
Even when Chelsea fell to a thumping on the South Coast three days before their win over Huddersfield, they still passed to each other 14 times, showing that already, there are clear signs of an understanding between the pair, a passing combination between Hazard and a striker that prior to the Huddersfield clash, had only been bettered once in the league all season.
To date, they have played together for 142 minutes of top-flight football and in that time, they have scored four goals as a team in their total of 29 attempts, with Higuain already averaging a goal per minute ratio of a strike every 77.5 minutes, a rate that is likely to see him reach double figures before the end of the season if he can continue to perform to it.
Whilst Chelsea’s squad have taken time to adjust, Higuain’s arrival brings two factors that Giroud and Morata have seriously failed to show under Sarri’s guidance so far. Not only is he a world-class striker, which he has proven during previous stints with the likes of Real Madrid, Napoli and Juventus, he also arrives a knowledge of exactly what is expected from him as a striker in the ‘Sarri-ball’ mould and that is an understanding that could prove to become priceless for the duration of the Argentinian striker’s time with the club.
Sarri on Higuain and Hazard: "I am really happy, apart from the goals, because my feeling is he is really suitable to play close to Eden. I think on the pitch they are suitable to place close to one another. Hazard is useful for Higuain, and Gonzalo for Eden." #CFC #CHEHUD
— Nizaar Kinsella (@NizaarKinsella) February 2, 2019
Sarri’s quotes after the star showing of the newly found-partnership show that the Italian wants to play the talented duo together and already, has faith in what they can produce together, a run that could secure a spot back in the UEFA Champions League for Chelsea next season.