Swansea could be spoilers, Hazard warns Chelsea
Eden Hazard has warned Chelsea not to lose their focus as the runaway Premier League leaders approach the final furlong in the title race, while crisis-torn champions Leicester face up to life without sacked boss Claudio Ranieri.
Antonio Conte’s side are eight points clear at the top with just 13 games remaining and they have a golden opportunity to extend that lead when they host lowly Swansea today.
Second-placed Manchester City are not in action this weekend because their derby against Manchester United was postponed due to their rivals’ League Cup final showdown with Southampton tomorrow.
That gives the Blues a chance to pull clear against a Swansea side who will be heavy underdogs despite their impressive rise out of the relegation zone under the management of former Chelsea assistant coach Paul Clement.
However, Chelsea showed a rare sign of vulnerability in a 1-1 draw at Burnley in their previous league match and Belgium playmaker Hazard insists his team can take nothing for granted as they look to regain the title.
“We just need to keep the same concentration. It’s more difficult to play away because of the fans, but we are ready, we are professional. We can deal with the pressure. Everything is going good,” Hazard said.
“We know if we want to be champions, in our home stadium we have to win most of our games. “We can’t say all 19 because we have already lost to Liverpool, but we have to win 16 to 17 because it is our place and we are ready to deliver.”
On Monday, Leicester will start the post Ranieri era as the troubled champions host Liverpool in their first match since the Italian’s shock dismissal.
Ranieri was brutally axed on Thursday, just nine months after Leicester’s incredible title triumph, because the club’s Thai owners feared relegation was an increasingly realistic prospect.
The Foxes have lost their last five league games without scoring a single goal, plunging them to with one point of the relegation zone less than a year after the fairytale success that captivated the world.
A 2-1 midweek Champions League last 16 first leg loss in Sevilla, a defeat that could have been much heavier, was the last straw amid growing talk of player unrest at Ranieri’s tactical tinkering.