STATS: Who is more influential – Alexis Sanchez or Eden Hazard?

Ahead of Sunday’s London derby between Arsenal and Chelsea Lewis Addley looks at which winger has been more influential in the Premier League this season, Alexis Sanchez or Eden Hazard.

The two have both been nominated for the PFA Player of the Year award, which comes as no surprise given how key they are to their sides.

The attackers go head-to-head this weekend and either player can produce that moment of magic to win the game – something that could lead to an entertaining game.

Sanchez has proved to be a hit since joining Arsenal from FC Barcelona for £35 million last summer and he has proved to be the attacking talent they have been missing in recent seasons.

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Hazard has arguably been Chelsea’s best player for the last two seasons and his £32 million transfer from LOSC Lille in 2012 seems to be even more of a bargain with each passing season.

So how do the two compare in their key offensive areas this season?

Stats via Squawka Apps Goals Assists Pass Accuracy Chances Created Shot Accuracy Duels Won Successful Take-Ons
Sanchez 29 14 8 77% 67 65% 50% 102
Hazard 32 13 8 87% 87 60% 65% 153

Sanchez has a better goals-per-game ratio, having played three games less than Hazard. The Chilean also boasts a better shot accuracy when compared to the Belgian wide man.

The two are very closely matched statistically, both racking up eight assists, but Hazard does have the edge in passing, creating 20 more chances and having 10% better pass accuracy.

Hazard is also ahead on duels won and successful take-ons, but given that he has played as an out-and-out winger compared to a striker, where Sanchez has played for a number of games this season, that is not surprising.

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Chelsea’s key man is two years younger than Sanchez and with the two tied down to long contacts this could be an interesting comparison for seasons to come.

At the moment they seem to be near on inseparable, but if we have to pick an overall winner it would be difficult not to side with Sanchez.

The Chilean is playing in a squad which arguably isn’t as strong as the league leaders’ and doesn’t have a midfielder duo on the same level as Cesc Fabregas and Nemanja Matic constantly supplying him the ball.

Both players are performing at the highest level and are unbelievably exciting to watch.

Their battle this weekend is set to be yet another exciting event and may help decide who has the edge, Sanchez or Hazard.

Who do think is more influential to their side – Alexis Sanchez or Eden Hazard?

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Five takeaways: Chile 3–2 USA – What did we learn about the USMNT?

The US Men’s National Team got their 2015 campaign underway against Chile in Rancagua last night and although it was only a friendly, the game left us with plenty to think about.

Jurgen Klinsmann started the game with a 3-5-2 formation in place but a close to full strength USA side lost the game 3-2 against a Chile B side.

The Chileans have all started their new season and are much fitter than the MLS-based players who have only just started preseason training and that showed in the second-half as the USMNT let a 2-1 lead go as a result of fatigue.

Here are five things we learnt from last night’s game:

1) 3-5-2 is not the reason behind defeat and needs to be tried again.

Many questioned Klinsmann’s decision to lineup in a 3-5-2 setup against Chile on Wednesday night but the system seemed to work well overall, despite some defensive issues. The USA scored more than a single goal in a game for the first time since the World Cup which is obviously a positive but the wingback positions need more attention. DeAndre Yedlin and Brek Shea struggled to get back and defend wide areas as the USA allowed Chile to cross the ball 41 times.

As Shea opens the scoring look at how far forward he and Yedlin are

As Shea opens the scoring look at how far forward he and Yedlin are.

The still shot above shows how far forward Yedlin and Shea were willing to get from the start of the game. As Shea blasts his shot in, Yedlin is as advanced as strikers Bobby Wood and Jozy Altidore. Effective in attack, but not in defence.

Klinsmann reverted to a more familiar 4-4-2 after halftime as the USA went on to lose the game 3-2, despite leading at the break. Fitness is a key issue this early in the year but the 3-5-2 experiment cannot be scrapped just yet. Needs more work.

2) Jermaine Jones is too reckless to play in the centre of a three-man backline.

Jermaine Jones played in defence once again on Wednesday, but this time at the heart of a three-man backline alongside Matt Besler and Steve Birnbaum. Jones was seemingly allowed to play where he wanted on the pitch though and he failed to stick to his position on several occasions. Being a natural midfielder – the position he thrives in for New England Revolution, Jones has a tendency to carry the ball out of defence, but he was caught on more than one occasion and Chile created chances from his turnovers as a result, with Jones then missing from defence.

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He was seemingly playing in midfield in the second-half but he uses his athleticism too much at points and goes charging into areas that he doesn’t need to. Some more tactical discipline would keep Jones in a position where he could break down an attack, but chasing the ball is not something that will help him, or his teammates.

Jones should be played in midfield alongside Bradley in the upcoming friendly against Panama to allow him to express himself in his natural position. The USA need his box-to-box athleticism, just not from defence.

3) Does a game have to have two halves?

The worrying trend of second-half slumps continued as Chile battled back to turn the game around in the second 45. The USA have now lost their last three games, and conceded nine second-half goals in their last five, a spell in which they haven’t won a game. That is a major concern. Fitness was a reasonable excuse this time around as players haven’t played a competitive game for a couple of months, but the staggering drop in performance levels as the game goes on is something that needs to be addressed quickly.

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One positive is that the USA managed to avoid conceding a goal in the final ten minutes for the first time in four games. They had conceded 11 goals in the last ten minutes of their last 11 games, but managed to stop that becoming 12 in 12 against Chile.

4) Steve Birnbaum largely impressive, Bobby Wood not so much.

Steve Birnbaum and Bobby Wood were both given their first starts in a USMNT shirt against Chile but had differing nights. DC United defender and 2014 MLS Rookie of the Year, Birnbaum played well and looked comfortable at the back, despite having to play in a back three. He almost scored an own goal in the second-half as a cross bounced off his thigh and fortunately into the arms of Nick Rimando in goal. That blunder seemed to affect him as he wasn’t as well organised for the remainder of the game, with the third Chile goal deflecting in off his leg, but that was down to fatigue as much as anything else.

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Bobby Wood started in attack alongside Jozy Altidore but didn’t offer enough of a threat, before being taken off at halftime. He’s struggling for gametime with 1860 Munich in Germany and that showed as he looked off the mark. There are better players that should start ahead of Wood for now.

5) Lee Nguyen needs to start, Gyasi Zardes showed promise.

Lee Nguyen had to settle for another substitute appearance as he gets used to life back in the USA setup, but Klinsmann should have started the New England playmaker. Nguyen has the ability to thread killer balls through – something desperately missing, but he came into the game alongside tiring teammates against a Chile side that controlled possession. Nguyen needs to start against Panama.

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Gyasi Zardes made his international debut last night and left us wanting more. The LA Galaxy striker has improved dramatically over the past 12 months and deserved his chance with the USMNT. He came on and looked lively, despite the lack of service, and forced a save late on with a shot that he will feel he could have done better with. The main thing is that he showed he can create space with his movement, and we look forward to seeing more against Panama.

What did you make of the USA game against Chile on Wednesday night?

International Preview and Prediction: Chile vs. USA

Competition: International Friendly

Venue: Estadio El Teniente, Chile – Wednesday, January 28 – 11:00PM (6:00PM ET)

Match Odds: Chile 5/6 – Draw 5/2 – USA 5/2

Chile and the USA get their 2015 International campaign’s underway when the two sides go head to head at the Estadio El Teniente in Chile tonight.

Both teams will want to start the year with a win having ended 2014 in poor form. Chile lost their last game against South American rivals Uruguay on home soil, while Jurgen Klinsmann watched the US National Team lose both of their last two games against Colombia and the Republic of Ireland.

The game will take place outside a designated international window and so both side’s will be without stars who play in Europe.

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Chile will miss star man Alexis Sanchez as well as Claudio Bravo, Arturo Vidal and Gary Medel as coach Jorge Sampaoli has named an entire squad of Chile-based players.

That should make this an intriguing game as the USA are without key European-based players such as Brad Guzan, Fabian Johnson, Alejandro Bedoya and Geoff Cameron.

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Klinsmann has named only two European-based players in his squad as new Spurs signing DeAndre Yedlin and 1860 Munich forward Bobby Wood have made the trip to Chile.

There have been some suggestions that Klinsmann may be prepared to try a new system with three at the back, but that is unlikely to be trialed against a side as good as Chile and so we could the USMNT setup like this:

USA Predicted Lineup vs Chile

Predicted USA Lineup for game against Chile (via Lineupbuilder.com)

The USA travel to Chile with 21 of the 23 players in the squad playing for clubs in the United States, with 20 of those playing in MLS with 14 different clubs represented.

Orlando City midfielder Brek Shea and New York City FC’s Mix Diskerud will make history by becoming the first players from the expansion franchises to represent the USMNT if they are played against Chile or Panama in the second friendly.

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Both nations are hosting international tournaments this year and will be desperate to start 2015 with a win. Chile host the Copa America later this year while the USA will host the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup in July.

This will be the ninth meeting between the two nations. Both sides have won three of the previous eight, with two ending as draws, including the most recent meeting in 2011 which ended 1-1.

Chile’s last five: W/W/D/W/L

USA’s last five: W/D/D/L/L

Key Stat: Undone at the death: The USA have conceded 11 goals after the 80th minute in their last 11 games.

Key Player: Lee Nguyen – The New England Revolution playmaker made his first USMNT appearance in seven years when he came on against Colombia in November. He will hope to start now and pick up where he left off.

Chile vs USA Prediction: Chile 2–2 USAAn entertaining draw to be played out as both sides will look to start the year without defeat

DeAndre Yedlin joins US Men’s National Team for upcoming friendlies

New Spurs arrival DeAndre Yedlin will have to wait at least another two weeks before making his first-team debut for his new club as he has been called up to the US Men’s National Team ahead of their two friendlies against Chile and Panama.

The 21-year-old right-back has been with Spurs since the start of January but has only seen 60 minutes of action for the Tottenham under-21 side so far.

Jurgen Klinsmann has decided to add the former Seattle Sounders star to his 22-man USMNT squad for the upcoming friendlies against Chile on Wednesday and Panama on Sunday, February 8.

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That means Yedlin won’t be available to play for Spurs in their League Cup semi-final against Sheffield United on Wednesday, while he will also miss Premier League games against West Brom and Arsenal.

Klinsmann has decided to call up a mixture of young players with the usual names in his 23-man squad and only nine in the camp went to the World Cup last summer.

LA Galaxy striker Gyasi Zardes has been involved in his first camp appearance for the USMNT, and 14 MLS clubs have players in the squad.

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Klinsmann will be hoping for improvement despite the rotation as an incredible 2014 for the National Team ended in poor form as they lost their last two games of the year against Colombia and the Republic of Ireland.

Yedlin is one of only two European-based players in the squad, joining 1860 Munich forward Bobby Wood and the pacey right-back will look to add to his ten caps for the USMNT in what will be a tricky game against Chile.

Full 23-man USMNT squad for upcoming friendlies:

GOALKEEPERS (3): Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire), Jon Kempin (Sporting Kansas City), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
DEFENDERS (7): Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Steve Birnbaum (DC United), Matt Hedges (FC Dallas), Jermaine Jones (New England Revolution), Perry Kitchen (DC United), Shane O’Neill (Colorado Rapids), DeAndre Yedlin (Tottenham Hotspur)
MIDFIELDERS (8): Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Mix Diskerud (New York City FC), Luis Gil (Real Salt Lake), Miguel Ibarra (Minnesota United FC), Lee Nguyen (New England Revolution), Dillon Serna (Colorado Rapids), Brek Shea (Orlando City), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew SC)
FORWARDS (5): Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes), Bobby Wood (1860 Munich), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy)