Eden Hazard won PFA Player of the Year for his performances in Chelsea’s title winning 2014/15 campaign, but this season he has looked a shadow of his former-self, so where has it gone wrong for the winger? Lewis Addley explores…
The Blues haven’t struck fear into their opponents heading into games but things have improved at Stamford Bridge since the appointment of interim-manager Guus Hiddink back in December.
One player who has clearly struggled to find his form this season is Eden Hazard. Chelsea’s No. 10 has failed to reach his high standards, and even though his confidence is coming back, he is still a long way from the player who dazzled throughout last season.
So let’s have a look at statistics from the key areas of Hazard’s game and see how they compare to those from last season.
Table: Eden Hazard’s key statistics from the 2014/15 Premier League season, compared to this term (statistics provided by Squawka).
Immediately we can see that Hazard has under-performed in every offensive statistic shown in the table above. Staggeringly, he is yet to find the back of the net in the Premier League in the current campaign, despite notching 14 last year.
He recorded nine assists last season, which isn’t a huge number, but he still has three-times less that amount in the current campaign.
The Belgian star’s game is built upon taking on his opponents and creating chances, whether that be from earning free-kicks or advancing at opposition defenders in menacing runs. This season we can see that he has been far more unsuccessful when taking on opponents, with his successful take-on percentage dropping from 64% to 60%.
The 25-year-old playmaker has recorded less than half the amount of completed passes and almost half the amount of key passes too, meaning his influence on proceedings is notably less.
It is however, his shooting which arguably provides the most worrying statistic for Chelsea fans, as Hazard has had just 26 shots in his 26 appearances, compared to his 78 in 38 games from last season. His shot accuracy is just 39% compared to his 59% in the league in 14/15.
As a winger who is expected to produce the extraordinary, Hazard has only created 56 chances for his teammates whereas he provided them with 99 last season.
While we aren’t suggesting Hazard is individually the one to blame for Chelsea’s demise this term, his reduced input as one of the standout names in their squad has arguably played a huge part in why they are not looking anywhere near as dangerous in the final third of the pitch this season – the statistics speak for themselves.
Can Eden Hazard rediscover his form next season? Will he even be a Chelsea player in the 16/17 campaign?