Hazard leaving Chelsea? – Star set to go after top four failure

After a performance that has been heavily criticised by pundits, Chelsea’s loss to Manchester City has made finishing in the top four look extremely unlikely for the Blues. Champions League football is a must for attracting and keeping top players. Missing out could be a catalyst for Eden Hazard leaving Chelsea.

The Belgian is arguably one of the best players to represent the club. Since joining in the summer of 2012 he has been a key performer for Chelsea. But the possibility of him staying with the Blues for the long haul has been constantly questioned.

Hazard has made no secret of his admiration for current Los Blancos boss Zinedine Zidane and Real Madrid. The temptation for any player to pull on that famous white shirt is enough to worry adoring fans that their current favourites could move at any time.

This summer seems the most likely yet that Hazard leaving Chelsea is a real possibility. Hazard is yet to pen a new deal. Now he may be looking to move on after six seasons in the capital.

When taking a look at Hazard’s Chelsea stats, his potential departure is a major concern for the club.

Is Eden Hazard leaving Chelsea?

It’s easy to see how influential Hazard is for Chelsea. He has been directly involved in 160 goals in his 287 games in all competitions. His two Premier League titles, Europa League and League Cup is an impressive haul of trophies so far.

Hazard has successfully completed 940 dribbles in the Premier League and European competitions since joining Chelsea. That is bettered by Lionel Messi (1045), but not Cristiano Ronaldo (388) or Neymar (861).

Hazard leaving Chelsea – Title defence failure

Although City have taken the league by storm this season, Chelsea’s title defence has been poor to say the least. It’s the second title defence in a row where Chelsea have not been up to the races.

For Hazard to continue his growth as a player and to be recognised as one of the elite he needs to be winning or challenging consistently for a league title every season. That is not happening for him at Chelsea, which will be increasing his frustrations.

Hazard leaving Chelsea – New challenge & Ballon d’Or

A new challenge may be on the Belgian’s mind. As mentioned, he has been with Chelsea for six seasons now. In the modern game longevity is becoming a less frequent feature of a career.

At 27, Hazard is now in his prime years and he arguably has six seasons at left in him at the very top of his game. He will want to be challenging to win the Ballon d’Or year-on-year during that time. While Messi and Ronaldo are still dominating European stats, Hazard is a name that is constantly thrown into the ring for those who are expected to hit the highest levels.

Winning the Ballon d’Or while playing in the Premier League is not a very frequent occurrence. The last time it happened was in 2001. So even with the domination of Messi and Ronaldo from 2008 onwards – it seems unlikely for anything to change any time soon.

Hazard leaving Chelsea – Champions League desire

Winning the Champions League is at the top of the list for every player in Europe. Hazard is facing the prospect of not playing in the competition for the second time in just three seasons. While Chelsea are still in the current round of the competition, they aren’t being backed by many to advance.

His desire to win the competition is natural. It’s all to apparent how difficult it is to win the Champions League while playing with the pressure of what is known as the toughest league in the world.

While doing no discredit to the strength of the remainder of Europe’s top leagues, they are seen as easier routes to having a better chance of winning the Champions League, which may be a factor in Hazard’s decision to move on.

Is Hazard leaving Chelsea this summer?

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Eden Hazard joins former teammates to become part-owners of San Diego NASL team

Eden Hazard has joined forces with fellow professionals Demba Ba, Yohan Cabaye and Moussa Sow to invest in a new NASL expansion side in San Diego, in what is an intriguing move for soccer fans across the globe.

The quartet of stars are funding the formation of the new team alongside local investors in San Diego, although a full team name has yet to be confirmed.

Hazard played 115 games alongside Cabaye and 70 alongside Sow while at Lille, before playing 35 times alongside Demba Ba at Chelsea following his move to the Premier League in 2012.

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San Diego will become the 10th team in the NASL when they enter play in Spring 2018, alongside a fellow expansion team in Orange County.

San Diego is expected to welcome a professional soccer team back to the area with open arms. There are an estimated 3.3 million people in the area and more than 50,000 youth players.

Chelsea star Hazard is one of the world’s most talented and widely recognised stars. He said San Diego’s passion for soccer is one of the key reasons behind the investment.

“San Diego is a beautiful place and the love and passion the people have for soccer made this an easy choice for us. My friends and I are honored to turn this dream into a reality and we can’t wait to get started and win some games.”

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Hazard’s former Chelsea teammate Demba Ba – who currently plays for Chinese Super League side Shanghai Shenhua but is on loan at Besiktas – is planning for success in the NASL and beyond.

“Success is our goal – with the club, with the community, with everything that we do,” Ba said. “One of our goals is to sign players who have a strong passion for the game, who are competitive and love to win.

“I look forward to competing against our fellow California clubs and the rest of the NASL, as well as MLS clubs in the U.S. Open Cup. It is going to be up to us to be the best.”

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The expansion club will play their home matches at the University of San Diego until their own soccer-specific stadium is built, with sites currently being considered in North County.

The news comes just a couple of months after Didier Drogba became football’s first player-owner with USL side Phoenix Rising and there is a sense that an increasing number of the games biggest stars may be looking to invest in US Soccer.

AC Milan legend Paolo Maldini is the co-owner of NASL side Miami FC, who are coached by Alessandro Nesta. While David Beckham’s own Miami project recently received a boost in its pursuit of an MLS Expansion Team, following the acquisition of the land needed to build a 25,000-seater stadium.

Do Liverpool hold the key in Hazard’s Chelsea departure with attempt to sign €80m Madrid star?

Liverpool could potentially play a key role in Eden Hazard leaving Chelsea at the end of the season as they are reportedly interested in signing Real Madrid playmaker James Rodriguez, so long as they qualify for next season’s Champions League.

The Colombian has been in and out of the Madrid side since joining for a whopping €80 million in 2014, but Los Blancos may well entertain offers for him this summer in a bid to fund a potential world-record transfer for Hazard.

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It’s no secret the Chelsea man is wanted by Real. Many have dubbed him a ‘Real Madrid sort of player’ and with the current state of the transfer market in mind this could be the first fee to reach over £100m.

Madrid have broken transfer records to land Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale and are unlikely to hesitate doing the same thing to bring Hazard to the Bernabeu this summer.

Chelsea are not a club renowned for selling their top players but have been making a name for themselves with the business they’ve been doing over the last few seasons in terms of selling stars they no longer need for big money. While Hazard certainly doesn’t fall into that category it shows if the right price is offered they could agree to sell him.

An offer of the sort of value that is being spoken about would no doubt be tempting for any club, no matter how good the player is and it would provide Chelsea with the purchasing power to sign a like-for-like replacement and potentially break even.

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Jurgen Klopp looks set to be preparing for the possibility of life after Philippe Coutinho, who is heavily tipped for a move to Barcelona in the coming months, so the potential purchase of Rodriguez would almost definitely have a knock-on effect across Europe.

One thing is for sure, if Real Madrid want Hazard they will do everything possible to get him. They’ve got a history of splashing huge amounts of cash on players and would no doubt be willing to spend whatever it takes to get their man, even if they were to keep hold of Rodriguez.

Will Rodriguez join Liverpool? Is Hazard on his way out of Chelsea?

Stats: Where has it gone wrong for Eden Hazard this season?

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…

Chelsea’s fall from grace has been well documented throughout this season with fans and pundits alike trying to work out what has happened to the current Premier League champions.

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.

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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.

 Eden Hazard Goals Assists Successful

Take-ons

Successful

Passes

Key

Passes

Shot

Accuracy

Total

Shots

Chances

Created

15/16 0 3 65 962 53 39% 26 56
14/15 14 9 180 1908 90 59% 78 99

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%.

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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?

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Newcastle United vs Chelsea

Competition: Premier League – Newcastle United vs. Chelsea

Venue: St James’ Park – Saturday, September 26 – 17:30 BST (12:30 ET)

Match Odds: Newcastle 4/1 – Draw 14/5 – Chelsea 8/13

Match Preview

Newcastle United host Chelsea this weekend in a fixture which has thrown out some surprising results in recent years.

Newcastle have had a poor start to the season, with new manager Steven McClaren struggling to impose his style of play on the Toon.

The Magpies are yet to win a Premier League game and find themselves sitting 19th and are only not propping up the table due to goal difference. Their season needs to pick up, and fast, if they’re to avoid another slog to stay clear of the relegation battle. Newcastle fans will be left disappointed once again after the investment made over the summer.

They come into the game off the back of last weekend’s 2-1 away loss against Watford and, to make things even worse than they could be, they were knocked out of the League Cup in midweek by Championship side Sheffield Wednesday.

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Chelsea’s struggles seem to be improving after their awful start to the defence of their Premier League crown. Mourinho’s men saw off nine-man Arsenal in last weekends controversial tie.

The Blues sit 15th in the league at the moment and need to go on a lengthy unbeaten, but more importantly winning, run if they are to make up the ground on Manchester City.

A win in this one would be a good result for Chelsea considering their recent form at St. James’ Park and Mourinho will be drilling his players that anything but three points is unacceptable.

Chelsea can send out a signal of intent if they are to find a big win this weekend, but they cannot afford to be complacent as it is a fixture which throws out unlikely results.

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Team News

Newcastle have 12 injuries, the highest total in the Premier League. But Steve McClaren could see a number of his players available for selection again for this game. Sylvain Marveaux, Daryl Janmatt, Rolando Aarons, Jack Colback and Cheick Tiote could be in contention to feature. Papiss Cisse, Steven Taylor, Emmanuel Riviera, Paul Dummett and Massaido Haidara are all expect to miss out.

Chelsea are expected to be without just the three players, as Kenedy, Willian and Thibaut Courtios are unavailable. Diego Costa is banned following his actions last weekend against Arsenal so former Newcastle forward Loic Remy could start up top for the champions.

Key Points

Newcastle United’s last five in the Premier League: L/D/L/L/L

Chelsea’s last five in the Premier League: L/WL/L/W

Key Stat: Newcastle have won the last three meetings between the sides at St. James’ Park and have only lost one of the last five in this fixture at home.

Key Player: Eden Hazard – The Chelsea superstar needs to kick on from netting his first goal of the season last weekend against Arsenal and show why he is so highly regarded. He didn’t feature in Chelsea’s midweek win so he should be fresh.

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Score Prediction

Newcastle United 2-1 Chelsea – A prediction which may surprise many but given Chelsea’s form against Newcastle away from home it would not be unheard of. Newcastle often manage to kick-start their season with a positive result in this fixture, anything is possible.

2014/15 Premier League Season Review: Chelsea

Premier League Final Position: 1st 

Review

Chelsea landed their first Premier League title in five years and ended the campaign eight points clear of closest rivals Manchester City. A season of solid defensive displays and consistent performances throughout the campaign proved to be the difference and picking up the League Cup was an added bonus. Jose Mourinho set his side out to win the league from day one and nothing else would have been acceptable. He has once again got the foundation for Chelsea to dominate and proved that no matter how you get over the line you are still worthy winners.

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Podcast Review

Best Moment

Chelsea all but sealed the title away at Queens Park Rangers. A ground where they have struggled in recent years and a very difficult game for the club on and off the field. Cesc Fabregas‘ late winner showed grit and determination and belief that the side could pull off a win in an ugly game – something Mourinho is a master at.

Worst Moment

Newcastle away. Chelsea’s shocking performance and loss in this game, their first of the season, in a game they didn’t expect to lose. Although not an aim for Mourinho and Chelsea, it stopped their chances of an unbeaten season and showed weaknesses in the side.

Player of the Year

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Eden Hazard Chelsea’s key player without any doubt. He made the champions tick and single handedly won games, scoring 14 goals. Hazard’s ability to create and turn games makes him the player he is and one defenders do not like facing. Although there are arguments for a whole host of players like John Terry for his leadership and Willian’s relentless work-rate, Hazard is the ideal attacking player for any club.

Biggest Win 

Swansea 0-5 Chelsea (Jan 17, 2015)

Biggest Defeat

West Bromwich Albion 3-0 Chelsea (May 18, 2015)

What to improve for the 2015 season…

It is hard to improve on winning the title. Chelsea have to maintain their performance level and desire in order to retain their title. Mourinho will not give his players any opportunity to perform badly next season and his mentality to win should ensure Chelsea have a great chance of winning the league back-to-back. Mourinho needs to bring in another striker as cover for the injury-prone Diego Costa and departing Didier Drogba.

STATS: Who had the better Premier League season – Hazard or Sanchez?

Alexis Sanchez and Eden Hazard were two of the top performers in the Premier League this season and have left fans disputing who is the better player.

Hazard won the PFA Player of the Year, beating Sanchez to the award and it came as no surprise that the two were nominated.

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Sanchez was easily one of the best signings of the season and Arsenal fans will be hoping Wenger will continue to bring in top quality players.

The two are considered to be similar players, so how did they perform in key attacking areas over the course of the Premier League season? Having looked at their performances earlier in the season, the two are still just as hard to split now the season is over.

Stats via Squawka Apps Goals Assists Pass Accuracy Key Passes Shot Accuracy Successful Take-ons Duels Won
Hazard 38 14 9 87% 91 59% 180 65%
Sanchez 35 16 8 77% 71 62% 115 50%

Sanchez ends the season with a better goals-per-game ratio but Hazard impressively featured in all 38 games of Chelsea‘s campaign.

Hazard had more assists, better pass accuracy, more key passes and 65 more successful take-ons. The Belgian superstar bettered Sanchez in the majority of the key attacking areas.

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Chelsea’s key man was beaten on shot accuracy, which ultimately showed with Sanchez’s goal output. The two are incredibly hard to split but winning the Premier League certainly helps to sway the argument in favour of Hazard.

Sanchez can show his worth to Arsenal yet again this weekend as he prepares for his first chance of silverware at the club in the FA Cup final.

This is going to be key battle and talking point for years to come in the Premier League as both seem to be settled at their clubs.

Harry Kane becomes third Spurs star in four years to win PFA Young Player of the Year award

Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane has been named as the PFA Young Player of the Year after a sensational season has seen him become one of the most lethal strikers in the Premier League.

Kane has scored an incredible 30 goals in all competitions this season, with 20 of those coming in the Premier League in 30 appearances.

The young Spurs star becomes the third Tottenham player to scoop the prestigious PFA Young Player award in the past four seasons, following Kyle Walker in 2012 and Gareth Bale in 2013, with Glenn Hoddle the only other Lilywhite to pick up the award back in 1980.

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Chelsea’s Eden Hazard, who picked up the PFA Player of the Year award on Sunday, was named as the best young player last season and other notable winners include Ryan Giggs, Steven Gerrard, Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo and Cesc Fabregas so Kane is in good company.

The 21-year-old Englishman was rewarded for his fine displays in a Spurs shirt by earning a first senior England call up in March, scoring on his debut against Lithuania, and has looked unplayable at times this year.

Mauricio Pochettino has helped Kane develop into a top class forward and the striker hopes that his successes this season can be replicated in the coming years.

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“It is amazing. It is a very proud moment for myself and my family – hopefully the first of many to come,” he said after picking up the award.

“I have got to keep working hard, but to be recognised by your fellow players is something special and it is a night I won’t forget. It is incredible, an incredible feeling.”

Kane was also named in the PFA Team of the Year, and was runner up behind Hazard for the PFA Player of the Year award, summing up what has been an incredible season for the young Spurs hero.

Did Harry Kane deserve to be named as the PFA Young Player of the Year? How important is he for Spurs?

Eden Hazard offers Chelsea HUGE boost after scooping PFA Player of the Year award

Chelsea winger Eden Hazard has been named as the 2014/15 season’s Professional Footballers’ Association Player of the Year, and has handed the Blues a major boost by claiming he will not be leaving the club this summer.

The 24-year-old Belgian star has enjoyed a fine season, scoring 13 goals with eight assists in 32 Premier League appearances for Chelsea, and he is on the verge of winning the title with the West London club with five games to go.

Hazard becomes the first Belgian player to win the PFA Player of the Year award and his fellow professionals have named him as the standout player in the top flight of English football this season, with Tottenham’s Harry Kane and Manchester United’s David De Gea coming second and third respectively.

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“I’m very happy. One day I want to be the best and what I did this season is play very well, Chelsea played very well,” he said after winning the prestigious award.

“I don’t know if I deserve to win but it is good for me. It is better to be voted by the players – they know everything about football.

“Personally I have played a good season, I have been there in the big games and I scored a lot of important goals, this is why I’m better this season.”

Hazard, who was also named in the PFA Team of the Year, went on to deliver Chelsea fans with a huge boost by claiming that he will not be leaving the club this summer.

Real Madrid have been linked with a move for the tricky winger but Hazard was quick to rule out a move to Spain, saying: “No, I’m staying.”

The last three winners of the PFA Player of the Year award have left their clubs at the end of the season’s as Robin Van Persie left Arsenal for Manchester United in 2012, Gareth Bale moved to Real Madrid from Spurs in 2013 and Luis Suarez joined FC Barcelona from Liverpool last summer.

Hazard has no reason to move clubs and looks set to stay with the Blues for at least another season, and that will be the biggest boost Chelsea fans could ask for ahead of the summer transfer window.

Will Eden Hazard stay at Chelsea this summer? How important is he for the side?

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?