Andy Gray column: Eden Hazard deserves three-game ban but no more

Eden Hazard's three-game ban is the right punishment - anyone who say he deserves worse has lost the plot, writes Andy Gray

eden hazard
Flashpoint: Eden Hazard was pictured kicking the ball boy in Wednesday's game Photo: Sky Sports

eden hazard

Eden Hazard deserved to get sent off against Swansea City but the people saying he should be banned for as long as Eric Cantona after his kung-fu kick have completely lost the plot.

I would like to think both parties would regret their involvement in the incident because they can both take a fair share of the blame for what transpired.

I think Hazard will certainly regret his actions, it was just something that happened and it is understandable why he would want to get the ball back as his team were running out of time and were two goals down.

I do think his desire initially was to kick the ball from under the young man’s body but in doing that he does make contact with the lad and having made contact with him, Chris Foy was right to send him off after consulting with his linesman.

As such the subsequent three-match ban will be the right punishment and I don’t subscribe to anyone who says it was a Cantona-esque moment because it wasn’t in my opinion – this wasn’t some kung-fu kick into the crowd, it was a moment of frustration where Hazard intended no harm.

There should be no more punishment for the lad than that – he’ll know he was in the wrong and it’s noticeable that both parties apologised to each other after the game.

They’ve accepted each other’s apology and if they are prepared to move on I don’t see why the rest of us shouldn’t be.

If anything it’s yet another distraction Chelsea just don’t need after a season which is well and truly off the rails now. They should still recover enough to a top-four position but I think on the whole if they don’t win a trophy it will still be a bit of a disaster for them.

Why Roman has backed himself into a corner

Despite missing out on Pep Guardiola I think it is obvious Roman Abramovich will have to make an appointment for the long term after the fiasco this season. Chelsea fans haven’t warmed to Rafael Benítez but they’ve been consistent in their criticisms, at least.

What is for certain is Abramovich has backed himself into a bit of a corner because he’s left himself with fewer options than surely and other European champion has had available to them.

It’s a risky place to go but with the talent at Chelsea’s disposal I would be incredibly surprised if there weren’t at least a few big-name candidates who throw their hat into the ring.

Any new manager coming in would know they stand in line to get sacked if results don’t go their way so it’s hardly a dream job in that sense. That said, all the managers under Abramovich – successful or not – have left Stamford Bridge as very rich men so that might still be enough to lure them over.

He certainly can’t stick with Rafa – Chelsea fans would be up in arms about that and quite rightly too.

It’s a shame for Benítez because he was just brought in to do a job but it left a sour taste in the mouth and left the club as a bit of a punchline for the rest of this season.

Chelsea only go for established big names and I can’t see that changing at any time soon.

Jurgen Klopp is a possibility, though whether he will want to leave Germany remains to be seen.

But you look through the list of names and there aren’t too many who look like they would be available, so it will be interesting to see who they go for.

Andy Gray is an official ambassador for sharethematch.com – Football’s Social Network. Available now for FREE online or at the App Store.

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