Former Chelsea striker Tony Cascarino has lambasted Eden Hazard for his successful penalty against Manchester City in Sunday’s League Cup final, labelling the panenka-style spotkick as “completely unprofessional.”
Despite a masterful defensive performance by the Blues at Wembley, they were defeated by City via penalties in a match that saw Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga refuse to be subbed off in the dying minutes of extra-time.
With the penalty shootout poised at 2-3 for the Citizens, Hazard stepped up to take the fifth and last penalty kick for the west Londoners. Despite the highly pressurised situation, the Belgian showed his poise by coming up with an impudent chip that sailed over the arms of City goalkeeper Ederson Moraes.
However, Hazard’s successful audacious chip did not go down well at some quarters, most notably ex-Blues forward Cascarino. The 56-year-old was not impressed at all with the way the Belgian forward took his penalty, suggesting it was rather too casual and that Hazard was not taking the match too seriously.
“Hazard is by no means captain material but he should be one of the senior players leading by example,” the former Chelsea striker said. “Instead he was taking the mickey with his Panenka penalty in the shoot-out against Manchester City. It was bordering on ridiculous.
“There should have been someone in the dressing room after that saying, ‘What the f*** are you doing?’ Would he do that in a World Cup final? No chance. He was not taking it seriously and it was completely unprofessional.”
Not content with passing off a superb spotkick by one of the best penalty takers in the world today as unprofessional behaviour, Cascarino went on to utilise the incident as an illustration of Chelsea’s current situation, in which it is widely believed that Sarri has lost control of the Blues dressing room.
“It summed up what is wrong at Chelsea,” added Cascarino. “Players such as Hazard and Arrizabalaga are pushing boundaries because they know they can get away with it — and Maurizio Sarri’s uncertain future as head coach adds to their complacency.”