By William Hill
9th January 2019
In their one season at Napoli together, Maurizio Sarri watched Gonzalo Higuain score 36 goals in 35 Serie A appearances. Their partnership could soon by rekindled at Chelsea, with Spanish reports suggesting that the Argentine frontman, who is currently on loan at AC Milan from Juventus, has agreed personal terms.
Higuain’s goal record speaks for itself, having reached double figures for league goals in each of his past 10 completed seasons. He’s netted 16 or more nine times in this stretch and over 20 top-flight strikes in exactly half.
Chelsea remain 2/5 in the Premier League’s top-four odds and having the 31-year-old on board for the remaining four months would only strengthen their prospects.
Should the signing materialise, it will be assumed in some quarters that Olivier Giroud will leave Stamford Bridge when his 18-month contract expires at the end of the season.
However, Giroud has so much to offer Maurizio Sarri’s squad in the event that the Argentine is signed, notably helping him get the best out of Eden Hazard.
Giroud and getting the best out of Eden Hazard
Few could argue that Hazard is not Chelsea’s most influential attacking threat, with the Belgian topping the Blues’ statistics for both goals and assists across all competitions this season.
Hazard has performed in one of three roles for Sarri so far in the campaign, as the club’s leading forward or in support of either Giroud or Alvaro Morata.
Of his 12 goals, eight have arrived when sharing the pitch with Giroud.
Given that the pair have only played together for a total of 684 minutes, this equates to Hazard scoring at a better rate than a goal a game when linking with the Frenchman.
In fact, the Belgian nets every 86 minutes when working in tandem with the former Arsenal striker. A significantly better return than when leading the line himself or when on the field with Morata.
Attacking play is often all about partnerships and with evidence showing that Chelsea’s best player is at his deadliest when starring alongside Giroud, it would seem foolish to ditch one half of this double act.
Chelsea are 2/9 to beat Newcastle in the next game week of Premier League fixtures, with Hazard 11/4 to open the scoring.