There was a lot of change at Chelsea ahead of the new season, but one thing is the same as ever: Eden Hazard is their main man.
Starting for the first time under new manager Maurizio Sarri, the Belgian playmaker once again came up with the goods on Sunday as Chelsea produced a dominant display to beat Newcastle 2-1 at St James’ Park.
After Marcos Alonso had been fouled in the penalty area in the 76th minute, Hazard was handed the ball by Jorginho - scorer from the spot against Huddersfield on the opening weekend - and he stepped up to make the breakthrough against a dogged Newcastle side.
The 27-year-old was vital in providing the threat against a brilliant defensive unit and Newcastle often resorted to bringing him down with heavy challenges.
Chelsea almost missed out on the points when Joselu met a DeAndre Yedlin cross to equalise, but the U.S. international then diverted the ball into his own net to ensure it was three wins under Sarri from three Premier League games.
Sarri was rewarded for showing his trust in his most valuable player, who started for the first time this season after proving himself fit enough in training following his major role in helping Belgium to finish third at the World Cup.
With Mateo Kovacic also starting for the first time, and fellow major new signings Kepa and Jorginho playing, this will likely be Sarri's first-choice line up for key games this season.
What was a surprise was that Hazard completed the game, with Sarri having said on Friday he would only play for 60 minutes, but he was forced to go against his own plan as his team chased the win on Tyneside.
Willian came on as a 66th minute substitute for Pedro, who has been prolific in pre-season and the Premier League so far, before Olivier Giroud replaced Alvaro Morata to leave Hazard as the only starter from the front three who finished the game.
Hazard said he wasn't 100 per cent fit when asked ahead of kick off, but "200% fit." He showed it by being the go-to player with 74 first-half touches putting him ahead of everyone, apart from the midfield pivot of Jorginho.
Jorginho produced more passes than the entire Newcastle team in the first half, but Rafael Benitez's game plan frustrated Chelsea for large periods.
Hazard's dribbling was key to breaking down the rigid 5-4-1 formation. Benitez stopped Chelsea scoring in a half of league football for the first time this season and Hazard took almost a dozen heavy challenges against his former manager's side.
History also provided a pre-game insight for Benitez into just how dangerous Hazard could be, as he had scored six times in 10 games against Newcastle and scored his only Premier League hat-trick in their stadium.
Sarri has been patient in his use of Hazard until now, but the match at St James' Park showed just how much this latest manager in through the door in west London trusts his number 10.
Real Madrid will be ruing their inability to sign Hazard after watching him in his first start of the season and Chelsea will be hungrier than ever to renew his contract, with a five-year deal still on the table.
Sarri has enjoyed a perfect start to his reign and many fans will be dreaming that Chelsea can be a surprise package to regain their Premier League title from clear favourites Manchester City.
But, while it’s a new season and new manager at Chelsea, it’s still the same superstar.