English Premiership

Pedro will ease Hazard reliance

2015-08-21 13:14
Pedro scores the Super Cup winner for Barcelona (Getty Images)

London - Chelsea's signing of Barcelona forward Pedro will take a lot of weight off the shoulders of playmaker Eden Hazard, former Stamford Bridge favourite Alan Hudson said on Thursday.

Hazard was voted player of the year when Chelsea finished eight points clear in the Premier League last season but too often the London club were overly reliant on the Belgium winger to make things tick for them in an attacking sense.

"Chelsea might need two balls now with Pedro joining Hazard in the side," Hudson told Reuters in an interview on the day the Spain forward joined the London club.

"They have definitely needed another ball player. They have only got one match winner at the moment because if Hazard doesn't win them the game no one else is going to do it.

"I saw the 2-2 draw against Swansea City on the opening day of the season and it was only when Hazard had the ball and ran at the defence that Chelsea looked like they were going to create anything," said Hudson.

"Otherwise they weren't in the game, they didn't have a clue. Swansea were the better team."

Hudson, the midfield general who helped Chelsea win the FA Cup in 1970 and the European Cup Winners' Cup in 1971, believes Pedro is set to play on the right side of the attack and will offer Jose Mourinho's team more options going forward.

"The most important thing about the signing is that Pedro is going to take a lot of weight off Hazard," added the former England international.

"The opposition know that when Hazard has the ball they've got to get two or three men around him, much like when Lionel Messi is on the ball for Barcelona and when George Best was doing his stuff for Manchester United in the 1960s and 1970s.

"The only difference is that Hazard doesn't get round defenders like Messi does, he goes to ground too easily," said Hudson.

"With Pedro joining it will give Chelsea more width. That's something they've really needed because they play down the middle of the pitch far too much."

Mourinho rotated most of his forward players last season but he could not afford the luxury of resting Hazard too often.

"I think Hazard will be able to get a breather every now and again now," said Hudson. "The team can give Pedro the ball and he can get on with it

"It's a bit like me in the 1970s. When I had spells when I felt a bit tired the other boys gave the ball to Charlie Cooke and he would do his magic while I took a bit of a back seat.

"The Chelsea side of today aren't like Barcelona, they don't play one-touch football, they haven't got players who can play in that style, but Pedro's signing will certainly help them in that respect."

Hudson, who also had spells at Arsenal, Stoke City and Seattle Sounders, believes Pedro is cheap at modern-day prices.

"He is an absolute bargain," added the 64-year-old. "He's 28 years of age, in the prime of his career, and 30 million euros is absolutely nothing these days."

Chelsea have made a poor start to the season, picking up just one point from their opening two league games, and Hudson said they needed to start turning their season around at West Bromwich Albion this weekend.

"That's a big game on Sunday," he added. "They are already five points behind the leaders and cannot afford for that gap to get any bigger, even this early in the season."


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