Eden Hazard had a relatively quiet day by his own very high, Premier League Player of the Month standards against Manchester United, and veteran makeshift full back Ashley Young is getting a lot of credit for “pocketing” him. But one of the biggest reasons Hazard had a bad day was this joke of a tackle by Young at the start of the second half, which not only wasn’t called — would’ve been a penalty — but has now left Hazard with a back injury.
As reported by the Telegraph, while Hazard was able to tough it out for the rest of the match (and even managed to set up a couple chances, such as the 1-2 with David Luiz), the next morning, he could hardly get out of bed and was “restricted” in his movements.
While Chelsea appear hopeful that the injury won’t be too serious, Hazard will definitely be kept out of Thursday’s Europa League match against BATE. He was always likely to miss that one anyway, but now it’s imperative that he does and that he recovers well in the meantime.
Because Hazard got the shot off, Mike Dean was all too happy to apply one of refereeing’s worst unwritten rules — if the player gets the shot away, the defender is basically allowed to get away with murder. It’s easy to “pocket” a player you literally kick out of the game (and Young was hardly the only red-shirted player to take a turn or two).
In this case, Young, who was already on a yellow, got to carry on, without even a talking to, after not only hacking down the player in his own penalty area, but closing his legs around his ankle in a scissor motion and dragging him to the ground thusly. No wonder Hazard’s back hurts after that one; he was practically rugby/NFL-tackled, with Young using his legs instead of his arms! (The ankle itself can’t be feeling too good either, but he’s probably used to that after all these years of constant fouling.)
Thanks, Mike Dean!