EDEN’S OUR NEW ZOLA!
CHELSEA v READING Tonight, Kick-off 7.45pm They are both artists, says Di Matteo
CHELSEA boss Roberto Di Matteo reckons Eden Hazard can be the next Gianfranco Zola at Stamford Bridge.
Zola was a Blues legend after seven glorious years at the club – and Hazard looks like heading in the same direction after his dazzling debut.
The Belgian midfielder looked a £32million bargain in Chelsea’s 2-0 win over Wigan on his first Premier League appearance.
He took a battering from Latics defenders but still masterminded victory to earn comparisons with Zola.
“Gianfranco was a wonderful talent, an artist I would say,” said Di Matteo.
“Eden might become an artist as well. We’ve spoken about his technical ability, his dribbling ability too. We know he has that.
“It was great to see him enjoying himself as well and getting his teeth into the Premier League.
“You’re never quite sure how new players will adapt and I’m sure it will take him a bit of time to get used to the physicality and tempo.”
Di Matteo insists Chelsea will benefit from opponents doubling up on the ex-Lille midfielder.
They had talks over the summer about Premier League defenders kicking him out of games.
“It will free up some space for other positions if they double-mark him,” said Di Matteo.
“We’ll have to adapt to that if that’s going to happen.
“But it’s good he got used to it quickly because that’s how it’s going to be.
“He’s a strong man, a strong boy. Strongly built as well. It will certainly help him.
“He’s a young man but he already has a lot of experience in terms of playing games. He knows how to handle himself.
“He can play in various positions. He’s played a lot on the wing, he’s played behind the striker, which is where we started him on Sunday.”
Chelsea can strike a psychological blow to their rivals by going top of the table if they get a result against Reading.
Di Matteo added: “Winning always helps to the atmosphere. We haven’t been top for a long, long time.
“But I’m expecting a very tough game.”