What we learned this week: Eden Hazard is the anti-Downing

By George Ankers

Hazard is the anti-Downing

After perhaps the most irritating transfer saga of all time (a big call, yes, but honestly, who takes that much pleasure from teasing people on Twitter?), Eden Hazard might just be worth it after all.

The Belgian Barnstormer had built himself quite the reputation in Ligue 1 and he certainly milked it for all it was worth as he tarted around England’s elite this summer before finally settling on Chelsea. The pressure was on; he’d probably need to be, at least, quite good in order to justify all the drama.

He may only have been facing first Wigan, who are to being even vaguely competent in the first half of a season what long-dead painting enthusiast Claude Monet is to professional Starcraft, and newly promoted Reading, that is true. But you’ve got to start somewhere.

Hazard made the difference in both matches, racking up five assists, including winning almost the exact same penalty in each one. That’s already more than twice Stewart Downing’s total assists for Liverpool for only 60 per cent more money.

Indeed, if Chelsea’s new darling keeps up this form, he will assist more goals this season (95) than the entire Manchester City team scored in 2011-12 (93). WWLTW suspects that Downing, who made a satirical substitute appearance at left-back against Hearts on Thursday, hasn’t even scored 95 goals on his PlayStation.

So pencil it into your diaries, folks: a presumably cold and damp January 12, 2013. Stoke City versus Chelsea.

If Hazard, who by that time will have laid on precisely 52.5 goals, so much as belches in a way that alters the wind direction just enough to lay the ball into Fernando Torres’ path, it will be safe to insert him above Lionel Messi in the list of the world’s best players. Right?

Photo of the week

David Moyes has mastered the secrets of time

David Moyes has been more active in the transfer market this summer than in recent years, signing three players, which is precisely three more than he does most summers.

We should have suspected. We should have known that it was too much. Too public. Moyes has been trying to distract us from the fact that he has mastered time itself.

While having his minions scurry about purchasing Kevin Mirallas, the Everton boss has clearly been locked away in his secret laboratory (which may or may not be bigger on the inside), fiddling with wires and antimatter and a DeLorean, and at the end of it he succeeded in transporting the Toffees to January and back.

Everton don’t win at the start of the season. This is footballing fact, sure as night follows day and Nani wastes corner kicks. But win they did, over Manchester United no less. Convincingly. It’s sheer genius from their mad scientist manager, though you do worry what will happen when they all go on holiday in February.

WWLTW is more concerned, though, with what Moyes will do now that he has this power. Sure, he’ll just use it for football purposes for now, but once Everton have wrapped up the Premier League title in November, he’ll get bored. Restless. If he were to turn his hand to world domination, WWLTW wouldn’t be surprised and this column, for one, welcomes our new ginger overlord.

QPR don’t take defeat well

Last Friday, WWLTW complained about the nature of the transfer window and implied that it might disagree with the concept as a whole. “Why not let clubs just buy and sell when they want?”, you might wonder.

Well, now we have an answer: It’s for QPR’s sake.

Having lost 5-0 to Swansea City on the Premier League’s opening day, manager Mark Hughes’ response was to push the panic button and buy, buy, buy!

Nobody is safe. Robert Green was only recruited from West Ham this summer but one mistake to let Michu through for the first goal and suddenly Julio Cesar is summoned from Italian giants Inter for negotiations.

Clint Hill and Anton Ferdinand look to have been summarily binned as Hughes pounces for Michael Dawson from Tottenham and out-of-favour Ricardo Carvalho from Real Madrid. Isn’t players moving from Madrid and Inter to QPR one of the horsemen of the apocalypse? WWLTW forgets.

If all three sign on the dotted line, they’ll take the Londoners’ headcount to 24 new players in the past 13 months. Just imagining how many more they would have bought after every one of their 21 Premier League defeats last season would give Stephen Hawking a migraine.

It’s probably lucky, then, that QPR are set to play Manchester City away the day after the window shuts. Not many things inspire sympathy for Tony Fernandes’ wallet – but the consequences of 15 Carlos Tevez goals plucked from Old Man Carvalho if business were still open just might.

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