Frank
Lampard: Eden Hazard is irreplaceable
(Photo: Getty Images - Darren Walsh)

Football is a fast moving industry and the changes at Chelsea have come with similar speed; Maurizio Sarri set sail for Juventus as Frank Lampard became the boss, a transfer ban left the Blues red in the face and Eden Hazard had his wish by joining Real Madrid, all in the space of two months. 

It is the latter that has possibly the greatest affect on a club who could do without any more roadblocks, his £130 million move to the Santiago Bernabeu was an inevitable outcome, yet it seems the Blues had not found the required adjustments to replicate his excellence.

Now brandished with a limited set of players and a tough task ahead of him, Lampard must find the answer to his 'Hazard-less' problem.

Extremely Haz-ard to find another Eden

Without the services of the Belgian winger last season, Chelsea would have found themselves in an even greater rot then they appeared to have finished in under Sarri, with the club landing the UEFA Europa League and fourth place in the Premier League.

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In all competitions, the 28-year-old netted 21 goals and assisted 17 more to end as Chelsea's commander and chief in the creative department, statistics that weren't remotely produced by his teammates; his closest competitors were Olivier Giroud and Pedro (13 goals each) and Willian (14 assists).

Hazard was also the Blues' highest goal contributor the campaign before in 2017/18, as they claimed the FA Cup in Antonio Conte's final farewell, and the current Chelsea coach didn't shy away from how highly he rated Hazard.

"For me, clearly, one of the best players in world football", Lampard told the Evening Standard

"And last season, but not just last season, over his time at Chelsea, he was the most productive player in the team in terms of assists and goals. And [he was] a leader."

So, you cannot replace him individually. It is pretty much impossible because of the high, high level that he is at now in his career."

Forward thinking Frank

Despite Los Blancos coming out obvious winners in this deal, Lampard remained optimistic that this may act as a positive sign for the squad he has now taken over.

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He said: "But, the good news for us, and we must stay calm and be patient with this, is that we have a group of players — some younger players, some experienced players — that now have the opportunity to show that, collectively and individually, they can step up.

"Because, yes, we’re missing a huge amount of assists and goals, that’s clear, but the answer is, as a team, we have to find a way to carry on."

In the 4-0 defeat to Manchester United last weekend, Lampard fielded the youngest ever matchday one line-up in the club's history, with an average of 25 years and 199 days. 

The likes of Mason Mount (20), Christian Pulisic (20), and Tammy Abraham (21) were all involved in the new youthful approach, but still all have a long way to reach Hazard's wuthering heights.

Changing of the guard

After winning two Premier League titles, one FA Cup and League Cup, two Europa Leagues and countless mesmerising performances, Hazard is heralded as a Chelsea legend.

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He joins an illustrious list, which Lampard is arguably at the top of - of Blues who have left their mark on English football.

What Chelsea have done so well over the years is to generate great after great, admittedly a conveyor belt that has slowed down as of late.

It is the task of Lampard to get the gears working again and find that missing piece, which he was aware is part of the Stamford Bridge philosophy.

"A football club like Chelsea will always carry on," the Chelsea boss furthered.

"Eden Hazard, John Terry, Didier Drogba et cetera, players move on and then it’s down to the next players, the next manager."

"That’s our big challenge now, to say good luck to Eden Hazard and to carry on as Chelsea.”

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