Everton travel to Stamford Bridge on Sunday to face Chelsea in their 12th English Premier League game of the season, and it promises to be one of their toughest tests.
The London club are unbeaten across all competitions this season – the only side with the record across Europe’s top leagues – and handing them their first loss will be more than a daunting task for the Toffees.
It’s a challenge manager Marco Silva surely relishes, but he admits Eden Hazard could make all the difference for the hosts given his current form.
The Belgium international has scored seven goals and assisted four others in 10 league appearances this season, and Silva reckons he is the best player on the planet right now.
“We have to stop him as a team but you cannot look for just one player. He’s a really important player, he can decide a match in one minute, but Chelsea as a team will create more problems for us than just Hazard.
“He has the capacity to solve the problems but we have to work actively and show strong defensive solidarity.”
Without a doubt, the 27-year-old is one of the best players in the world, and perhaps the best in the English top-flight.
However, he’s not the best in the world despite making the most recent FIFPro XI.
The untouchable duo of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are still head and shoulders above every other footballer, while the likes of Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann will also be rated ahead of Hazard by many.
Everton don’t have to worry about any of them, though, and their job on Sunday will be limiting the Belgian’s chances in front of goal.
Successfully keeping Hazard quiet could be the difference between winning, drawing or losing, and Silva will hope he can come up with a perfect plan to stop the Chelsea talisman.