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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Three reasons Man Utd need to pull out the stops to beat PL rivals to £26m-rated left-back

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho is on the hunt for a new left-back and he needs to do everything he can to ensure the Red Devils beat Premier League rivals Manchester City and Chelsea to the signing of AS Monaco left-back Benjamin Mendy this summer.

The 22-year-old Frenchman has starred for Monaco as they chase a first Ligue 1 title in 17 years this season. He joined the club in a £13 million deal from Marseille last summer but is expected to be on the move again this summer, with an offer of around £26 million expected to be enough to force Monaco’s hand.

Mourinho’s critical comments about Luke Shaw in recent weeks suggest he may not see a long-term future at Old Trafford for the youngster. Daley Blind, Marcos Rojo and Matteo Darmian are also options at the position but none of them are natural left-backs and struggle to get up and down as much as Antonio Valencia on the opposite wing.

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Mendy would give Manchester United a fresh look and another attacking outlet down the left side. He has proven his quality in Ligue 1 and in the Champions League this season so here are three reasons United need to do all they can to sign him in the coming months…

1. Attacking threat from left-back

Mendy would offer United something they don’t currently have – a consistent attacking outlet down the left side. Luke Shaw is an attacking full-back but is clearly not one of Mourinho’s favourites, while Matteo Darmian struggles to offer regular support in the attacking third.

Mendy has eight league and Champions League assists this season – more than any other defender in Europe, including Real Madrid’s Marcelo and Bayern’s David Alaba who are both rated as two of the world’s best in the position.

Antonio Valencia gives United a regular threat from right-back but they become quite one-sided due to the lack of similar support on the left, so the addition of Mendy would add balance as well as some much-needed creativity from deep.

2016/17 League Stats
Games
Assists
Chances
Created Per 90 Mins
Pass
Completion (%)
Tackles
Won Per 90 Mins
Benjamin
Mendy
21
5
1.05
76%
1.9
Luke
Shaw
10
1
1.32
85%
0.92
Matteo
Darmian
12
0
0.21
81%
2.00

Table: Benjamin Mendy’s league statistics compared to Luke Shaw and Matteo Darmian this season (stats via: Squawka).

2. Play style perfectly suits the Premier League

The table above shows how Mendy compares to Shaw and Darmian – the two most natural left-backs United have at their disposal at the moment. His stats suggest he is a well-rounded full-back, who is as adept at winning the ball back as he is creating chances. His pass completion could be better but 66% of his passes go forward, further highlighting his direct approach.

Premier League full-backs that can get forward quickly but also defend well in 1v1 situations tend to standout and Mendy fits that billing perfectly. A move to Old Trafford could see him establish himself as one of the club’s best left-sided defenders, as his approach to the game isn’t too dissimilar to that of Patrice Evra’s when he joined the Red Devils in 2006.

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3. Bright future ahead

Mendy is still only 22. That’s easy to forget considering he made his professional debut almost six years ago. But he has established himself as one of Europe’s best full-backs this season as Monaco continue to impress domestically and in the Champions League.

Mendy made his France debut last month, getting an assist in the 3-1 win over Luxembourg and a long and successful career is expected for club and country, no matter where he is plying his trade.

Luke Shaw is a year younger than Mendy but with his future unclear, the Frenchman would be an ideal replacement this summer and would potentially give Manchester United a reliable and improving left-back for many years to come.

Should Man United do everything in their power to sign Benjamin Mendy this summer?

How Liverpool could benefit from Barcelona swap deal if Coutinho leaves this summer

Barcelona are not giving up hope of luring Liverpool’s star playmaker Philippe Coutinho to the Nou Camp this summer, despite the fact the 24-year-old Brazilian penned a new five-year contract in January.

Coutinho became the Reds’ highest-paid player just a couple of months ago but it has done little to stop Barca from pursuing his signature as they look to strengthen this summer.

The Liverpool star is seen as an ideal replacement for Iniesta, who is approaching the end of his career and has yet to sign a new deal with the Catalan giants.

Don’t miss: Andres Iniesta rejects £28m-a-year offer from China with NYCFC move still on the cards

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Liverpool fans won’t want to imagine life without Coutinho at Anfield. His creativity is a huge asset to the side as he can operate behind the striker or out on the left wing, thriving in both roles under Jurgen Klopp.

The Reds will need even more depth next season as they prepare for life back in Europe – whether that be the Champions League or Europa League – so losing Coutinho is a scenario Klopp will be trying not to think about.

But if the player wants to link up with former Liverpool teammate Luis Suarez, Brazilian pal Neymar and Lionel Messi it will be difficult to keep him. But there is still a way Liverpool could benefit from the loss of their No.10 as Barca could allow their own 24-year-old Brazilian playmaker to depart in the coming months.

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Rafinha is reportedly being chased by Arsenal, Juventus and most interestingly Liverpool as he has been unable to nail down a guaranteed starting place with Barca. He has played 27 times in all competitions this season but has only started 17 of those matches and his chances of bettering that tally would be significantly hampered if Coutinho were to join the club this summer.

Barca would be willing to let Rafinha leave if the right offer came in, just as they did with his brother Thiago Alcantara who joined Pep Guardiola at Bayern Munich in 2013. Liverpool would surely move to the front of the queue for Rafinha if the two clubs were already in discussions regarding Coutinho.

16/17 League Stats
Appearances
Goals
Assists
Chances Created Per 90 Mins
Pass Accuracy
Coutinho
22
6
5
2.67
83%
Rafinha
17
6
2
1.18
92%

Both Rafinha and Coutinho have scored six league goals this season, with the Liverpool ace picking up three more assists. Although he has played five more games and has racked up 523 more minutes than the Barca man.

Coutinho creates more chances for his teammates per 90 minutes than Rafinha, although his passing accuracy isn’t as good, with the Barca academy product only misplacing 39 passes in La Liga all season.

Losing Coutinho would undoubtedly worry Reds fans but if they can negotiate a swap deal with Barcelona for Rafinha they could still be in a position to challenge at the top end of the Premier League next season. They would also be able to free up some space on the wage bill to pursue other targets as they prepare for a busier schedule in the 2017/18 campaign.

Would Rafinha be a good replacement for Coutinho at Liverpool if Barcelona come in for the Reds star this summer?

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Manchester United vs Tottenham Hotspur

Competition: Premier League – Manchester United vs. Tottenham Hotspur

Venue: Old Trafford – Sunday, December 11 – 14:15 GMT (09:15 ET)

Match Odds: Manchester United 6/5 – Draw 23/10 – Spurs 23/10

Match Preview

Manchester United welcome Tottenham Hotspur to Old Trafford on Sunday in the standout fixture of the Premier League action this weekend.

United know they’ve got a game on their hands with the visit of Spurs, this meeting usually offers an exciting tie, but given recent league form for United a draw would be far from surprising.

Jose Mourinho’s side are frustrating their fans. They’re creating well in games but are missing hatfuls of chances and aren’t strong enough defensively to hold out when they take the lead.

Despite the negatives, United are unbeaten in five in the league (W1, D4). Their draw last weekend at Everton was a disappointing result considering they looked to have the points wrapped up, but it’s another game unbeaten nonetheless.

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Tottenham will be full of confidence coming into this game. They thumped Swansea 5-0 at home last weekend and it could and probably should have been nearer double figures.

Mauricio Pochettino’s men are six points ahead of United in the league. They sit 5th, three points outside the top four and six points off top spot, they’re well in the mix.

Spurs need to win this game to keep pace with the top four. If results go in their favour they could end the weekend in third place.

The North London side have lost just once in their last 14 outings. They’re in fine form and are scoring freely, so they have to start with their usual high-press and intensity to put United on the back-foot from the word go.

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Team News

Manchester united are still expecting to be without Chris Smalling and Luke Shaw for this tie. Eric Bailly could be in line to start his first Premier League game in six weeks, he played 90 minutes in the Europa League in midweek. Wayne Rooney is available again after serving his one-match suspension.

Tottenham have just three injury concerns ahead of this tie. Erik Lamela and Vincent Janssen are both expected to remain out, while Ben Davies is a doubt. Toby Alderweireld could make his first Premier League start since October 15 after he featured in the Champions League on Wednesday.

Key Points

Manchester United’s last five: D/W/D/D/D

Tottenham’s last five: D/D/W/L/W

Key Stat: Manchester United have won just once in their last nine Premier League games.

Key Player: Harry Kane – The Spurs talisman is in fine form. He has netted seven league goals this season and will be excited at the prospect of getting at a nervy United defence. He will have to outshine Zlatan Ibrahimovic to ensure Spurs take all three points here.

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Score Prediction

Manchester United 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur – United to fall to another unfavourable result against one of the top sides in the league. Spurs know they have the chance of taking all three points at Old Trafford, but just because United are out of form by no means makes this an easy tie.

Do Manchester United actually need this PSG star?

Manchester United have already been busy in the transfer window and the amount of rumours surrounding players in and out is as high as always. According to reports, Blaise Matuidi is a player on their radar but do United actually need the Paris Saint Germain midfield maestro? Lewis Addley explores

Blaise Matuidi has impressed so far during the European Championship and had yet another consistent season for Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint Germain last term.

The 29-year-old midfielder has been linked with a move away from the French capital and Manchester United appear to be frontrunners the Frenchman.

Jose Mourinho is keen to get his business done early in the window and prepare his squad to challenge on all fronts from the first whistle and there are no doubts about the qualities Matuidi could bring to their midfield.

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In Ligue 1 last season Matuidi had a pass completion of 92%, he won 54 tackles, played 20 key passes, made 46 interceptions and 18 clearances.

Used in a predominately holding role, Matuidi also impressively created 26 chances for teammates, while he registered six assists and scored four goals. With all those stats in mind you could be forgiven for referring to him as the ‘complete’ midfielder.

But do Manchester United actually need Matuidi?

Problems and weaknesses across the pitch were well documented last season for United and they looked vulnerable when opposition teams were counter-attacking. A solid midfield is something football fans have become accustomed to from Mourinho and Matuidi’s stats scream out solidity.

To assess whether United actually need Matuidi we have to look at their current players who could and have played in the same holding role. Three players who are suited to playing in that position in the current United squad are Michael Carrick, Ander Herrera and Daley Blind.

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At this stage of the window it appears only Carrick’s future is secure, with speculation about Herrera and Blind refusing to go away. If all three are in Mourinho’s plans he would have a healthy selection of players to choose from and the possibility of Matuidi as a fourth option would arguably lead to some selection headaches for the United boss.

So let’s have a look to see how the three players mentioned compare to Matuidi… 
(Statistics provided by Squawka).

Last season, Blind bettered Matuidi’s key passes with 24, while Herrera totalled 19 and Carrick managed ten. The PSG midfielder’s 92% pass completion was highest, although the lowest percentage was still impressive, coming from Blind and Herrera with 84%.

Matuidi scored and assisted more than any of the United midfielders, whose combined goals and assists came in at just seven compared to his ten.

Blind made the most successful tackles with 67, interceptions with 80 and clearances with 127, bettering all three of the other players in question.

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Finally Matuidi created the most chances, managing one more than Blind’s 25, while Herrera came in with 21 and Carrick only managing ten.

With these stats in mind it wouldn’t be wrong to suggest Blind is currently the strongest candidate in the United squad in comparison to Matuidi. It would appear United would benefit from signing the Frenchman and there is no doubting his experience and quality, but whether or not they are in desperate need for him is questionable.

Do United need to sign Matuidi or are their current options good enough? Should Mourinho prioritise strengthening his squad elsewhere?

Three players Conte should bring to Chelsea this summer

Chelsea’s Premier League struggles in the 2015/16 season were well documented. Their defence of the title was shambolic and incoming boss Antonio Conte has a huge task on his hands to rebuild the side. Lewis Addley explores three top performers from Serie A who would improve the current Chelsea squad…

Strengthening the Chelsea squad is going to be the first area for Conte to address this summer after so many lapsed performances from the title winning side of just 12 months ago.

Chelsea have been renowned for a strong core through the middle of the pitch during their successful seasons and this is something they lacked in the 2015/16 campaign.

With Conte’s Serie A experience in mind let’s have a look at three potential suitors from the league who could stabilise Chelsea and become the new generation of core players.

Kostas Manolas 

The Roma centre-back had an impressive 2015/16 season and strikes a number of qualities which arguably make him a good suitor for the Premier League. He is a hard tackler who can play out from the back, something clubs are looking for in modern-day defenders.

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So let’s have a look at how the 24-year-old Greek international performed in the 15/16 season. He won’t come cheap and a number of clubs may be more tempting for Manolas, who will want to be playing Champions League football.

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Key stats from Manolas in the 2015/16 Serie A season

As we can see Manolas played all but one game, averaging more than one tackle per game, nearly two interceptions per game, 4.3 clearances per game and he won 76% of his aerial duels. The Roma defender’s stats show how often he was in the right position

Radja Nainggolan 

The Chelsea midfield lacked its industrial side through 15/16 and left its defence vulnerable to oncoming attacks in practically every game. Again from Roma, Nainggolan possesses the ability to break up play, move the ball quickly and keep things simple. He’s performance levels have alerted a number of the top clubs in Europe and he would surely come with a hefty price tag.

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Nainggolan is 28, so he is in his prime and fitness providing, he could potentially offer six more years at the highest level. Let’s have a look at his key stats in Serie A from the 15/16 season.

Nainggolan

Nainggolan’s key stats in the 15/16 Serie A season

The standout stat for Nainggolan is his pass accuracy, coming in at 85%. He averaged 1.4 tackles won per game and 1.3 interceptions per game. Nainggolan also adds the occasional goal and creates chances for teammates, both of which aren’t the main focus of his game, so he clearly has the all-round quality to be a success in the Premier League.

Gonzalo Higuain 

Chelsea lacked quality in depth in striking options last season and the mixed bag of Radamel Falcao, Loic Remy and Alexandre Pato were insufficient support for Diego Costa, who too had a quiet campaign in front of goal.

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Napoli’s Gonzalo Higuain had far from a quiet season, he netted 36 times and broke the 66-year long standing record of 35 goals. The Argentine forward has a wealth of experience and at 28 he would be an ideal striker for just about any club in Europe.

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As we can see, Higuain scored more than one goal a game, an incredible stat every striker strives to achieve. He set up two goals along the way and created 51 chances for teammates. His shot accuracy and pass accuracy may look a little low, but when you’ve scored as many as he did they are not concerning stats.

If Conte was to sign Higuain and play him alongside Costa he would have one of the most physical and deadly strike partnerships in the Premier League. Problems could well arise if Costa remains at Chelsea and Conte only opts for a lone striker, as neither of the two will be happy sitting on the bench.

While these signings are hypothetical at this stage it is worth mentioning the potential newcomers at Chelsea would be in for a tougher challenge in a more competitive Premier League.

However, as the stats mentioned suggest all three of these players are top performers and would be expected to improve the four-time Premier League champions and fire them back into a side capable of challenging on all fronts.

Would the Chelsea squad improve with these potential signings? Will Conte be given the funding needed to revamp Chelsea?

Five facts that prove how bad Everton’s season has been under Roberto Martinez

Everton have today sacked manager Roberto Martinez at the end of what has been a thoroughly disappointing season for the Toffees.

The Spaniard, who had three years left on his contract before today’s departure, has been relieved of his duties before the club’s final game of the season at home to Norwich on Sunday, with David Unsworth and Joe Royle set to take control of that game.

Martinez was appointed as Everton manager in 2013 and enjoyed a fine first season, leading the club to a fifth-placed finish with a record Premier League points tally of 72.

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But things have only worsened since the end of his first campaign, with the Toffees on course for their lowest league finish since 2004 and here are five facts that prove how bad a year it has been for the Merseyside club.

1. Home discomforts

Everton have picked up just 20 points from their 18 home games this season – their worst return in the club’s Premier League history, regardless of Sunday’s result against Norwich at Goodison Park. Their 20-point haul at home is also the joint-second worst return in Premier League this year, as only Aston Villa have picked up less (11).

2. Fortress? What fortress?

The Toffees have suffered eight home defeats this season, and another loss on Sunday would equal the club’s worst return in club history – nine home losses. The club lost only once at home in David Moyes’ final season in charge in 2012/13.

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3. Missed opportunities

Everton have dropped a total of 37 points from winning positions over the past two seasons. They have dropped 18 this season, with only Tottenham (20) and Liverpool (19) dropping more. While they dropped 19 points from winning positions last season, which was the most in the Premier League.

4. Merseyside misery

Everton’s 4-0 loss to Liverpool on April 20 was the club’s joint-worst Merseyside derby defeat since November 1982. They also lost 4-0 to Liverpool in Martinez’s first season in charge so he failed to really deliver in the biggest game of all.

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5. Leaky defence

Everton have conceded 55 Premier League goals this season – their most since letting in 57 in 2003/04. Their 3-0 defeat to Sunderland on Wednesday night saw the club concede three goals in back-to-back Premier League away games for the first time in seven years. They have now kept just one clean sheet in their last 12 games and the new manager will need to work on the defensive problems immediately.

Aston Villa officially relegated for first time in 28 years

Aston Villa’s long-awaited relegation has been officially confirmed following the club’s 1-0 loss to Manchester United today, ending a run of 28 consecutive seasons in English football’s top flight.

The Villains have been simply dreadful this season with major struggles on and off the field confining them to their worst season in their 141-year history.

Manchester United youngster Marcus Rashford may have scored the goal that confirmed Villa’s relegation today, but most fans knew they were doomed from December onwards.

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Villa have won just three games all season and are left 15 points adrift of Norwich in 17th place with four games to play. Their performances have been appalling and preparations for life in the Championship next term will now begin.

Interim manager Eric Black is unlikely to be the man in the dugout come August, but whoever takes over will be stepping into one of English football’s most troubled clubs, with major problems left to be addressed throughout the structure of the organisation.

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Black is the team’s fourth manager this season, following on from Tim Sherwood, Kevin MacDonald and Remi Garde, who were all unable to inspire a squad of players who look out of their depth in the Premier League.

Quality first-team players left the club last summer but none were replaced properly. Losing the likes of Ron Vlaar, Fabian Delph and Christian Benteke meant the season was always going to be tough but few could have anticipated just how bad things have been.

Table: Aston Villa have struggled enormously in every aspect this season.

Table: Aston Villa have struggled enormously in every aspect this season.

The Villains are one of only seven English clubs to have played in every Premier League season to this point but that run will now come to an end.

Two other Premier League clubs will join Villa in the Championship next term, with Newcastle, Sunderland and Norwich all battling for their lives at the bottom of the table.

Aston Villa bounced straight back up following their last relegation in 1987, but a repeat of that achievement looks highly unlikely at this stage, with one of English football’s most historic clubs in complete disarray.

Do you think Aston Villa will bounce straight back up to the Premier League next season? 

Five key facts following Newcastle’s appointment of Rafa Benitez

Newcastle made a key managerial change on Friday, with Steve McClaren’s sacking paving the way for Rafa Benitez to be appointed within just a matter of hours.

The Spanish boss will return to the Premier League for what will be his third job in the top flight, following previous spells with Liverpool and Chelsea, but faces what is set to be the biggest challenge of his career at St James’s Park.

Newcastle are 19th in the Premier League with ten games to go and are embroiled in a relegation dogfight – something Benitez has not been involved with in his managerial career as of yet.

Benitez is someone who clearly loves a fact, so here are five of them:

1. No bottom three Premier League club has ever stayed up when sacking a manager after March 3.

Benitez will have to do something no Premier League manager has ever done by keeping the Magpies in the top flight over the next ten games. There have been 11 previous managers appointed to clubs in the bottom three after March 3, but none of those have been able to avoid relegation.

2. Rafa Benitez has the seventh-highest win percentage of all Premier League managers to have overseen 50 or more games.

Benitez appears to be a huge managerial capture for Newcastle and that is proven by his all-time Premier League win percentage of 56%. That figure is the seventh-highest of all top flight managers to have been in charge of at least 50 matches. If he can keep that win record intact, Newcastle will win be on track to win five of their last ten games and would surely be safe.

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3. Benitez’s teams have averaged 1.57 goals-per-game over the course of his managerial career.

One of Newcastle’s major problems this season has been the inability to score goals as they have only averaged one goal-per-game in the Premier League – only Aston Villa have a worse record. Benitez tends to see his side score closer to two goals per match than one, and will hope to instantly increase the Magpies’ goal output.

4. Teams managed by Benitez concede less than a goal per game, on average.

As well as addressing Newcastle’s offensive issues, Benitez will need to shore up a defence that has conceded 53 goals in 28 league games this term – an average of 1.89 per game. The Spanish manager is renowned for making his teams tough to beat and that is proven by the fact that his sides concede an average of 0.91 goals-per-game.

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5. Rafa Benitez has not lost his first league game in charge in any of his last six jobs.

Benitez has a very tricky first game in charge to prepare for as Newcastle travel to Leicester on Monday night. The Foxes are top of the league and are on course for a historic title win. However, Magpies fans should take confidence into that trip based on Benitez’s record with his last six clubs. The Spaniard has not lost his first league game in charge since 2000 and has only conceded one goal in his last six opening matches as a manager. Three of his last four jobs have seen his opening league game end 0-0 – a result Newcastle fans would probably accept ahead of Monday’s trip.

Will Rafa Benitez keep Newcastle in the Premier League? 

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?