I know that there have been a lot of articles that have talked along a similar line but I would like to talk about more than just 'Goals & Assists'.
That would be a good place to start though. We all hope that Hazard will be able to score another 20 goals this coming season but we need to take a look at how he scored them this year. If you look at his 20 goals in Ligue 1 this year, 8 of those goals were from penalties. Any game that Lampard will be playing, he will still be our primary penalty taker but I have a feeling that, especially after Torres not getting picked for the penalties in Munich, that Torres will be the next in line. I have a feeling that it was probably one of the ways they would have reassured him about his future at the club was to make him the second primary penalty taker to start scoring more goals. So I would think that you could take those 8 goals off the total for the 12-13 season. However, 4 of those penalties were won by Hazard himself which would take his assist tally up to 20 for the league. It is good to know that he is a very accomplished penalty taker at such a young age though because, as Moscow and Munich showed, it could be very useful to have a few quality penalty takers.
Hazard will thrive on playing 1-2s with Torres as that is where a lot of his goals and assists came from for Lille this past season. I think Hazard is exactly the kind of player than Torres needs behind him to start to look really dangerous and pile on the goals. One of our biggest issues was that if a team could effectively keep Mata under wraps then we would start to struggle for creativity and ideas when breaking down defenses. Ramires helped to offer another element to this with his blistering pace but if Mata/Ramires was not playing, and the other was not having a good game then we would struggle. Now with 2 players essentially signed to support Torres, it will be much harder to neutralize all of them. Hazard might even be able to have more freedom this coming year, as he did when he was at Lille. When defending against Lille it was easy to know where most of the damage was going to come from. Similarly to when playing against Real or Barca, if you could control Ronaldo/Messi then you were in with a good shot. I feel that it was the same thing for Hazard at Lille and, while he will still be one of the stars of the show at Chelsea, he is going to find more freedom as defenses wont be able to leave Mata and Ramires to do as they please. Along these lines, I think that Hazard will actually be able to increase his assists tally to 25-30 for the coming season.
Hazard also racked up 4 assists from set pieces last season. While Lampard and Drogba have been the undisputed top dogs when it comes to set pieces for Chelsea, the times they are a changing. Mata has stepped up with good crossing and shots for set pieces suiting the left footer. Hazard will be able to offer another dangerous element here with a view to taking over as the main right footed free kick taker. Likewise his delivery from corners was top notch and i think that he will be relishing the chance to float in some corners to a very dangerous headering side.
Mata put up very good stats of 12 goals and 21 assists for his first season at Chelsea. You might think that Hazard will end up taking some of those away from him but i think it will be the opposite. Mata and Hazard will be able to get a few goals between themselves as well as I think their touch and style is very complimentary to each other.
We will definitely score a lot more goals this season with the addition of Hazard and if you look at the stats Manchester City scored almost 30 more goals than us. He will relieve the pressure on a few other players and offer something very tough to handle when attacking. I think that it was a choice between Kagawa and Hazard in terms of who we would sign to fill the position. Kagawa would have been cheaper and probably offers more commercial advantage, being able to pull in a lot of asian supporters. Hazard is however the better of the two and i think that we are getting exactly what we paid for. His style, aggression and skills remind me Ronaldo, not Messi, and if we can use that explosive unpredictability this coming season, then we will be fighting for the title.