Eden Hazard reached 100 league games for Chelsea at the weekend which is a great achievement, but the Belgian has the potential to achieve a lot more than he already has in London. Since joining Chelsea on the back of their Champions League triumph, Hazard has yet to win a major trophy as the Champions League and the Premier League have both eluded him. Although the latter appears to be Chelsea’s this season, Hazard will want to become central in a dominant Blues side. As an individual, he joined Chelsea with a lot of ability and with many tipping him to become one of the world’s elite. The Belgian will admit himself that he has yet to reach that level, but in the coming years, he could develop into a potential Balon D’Or winner.
In his 100 league games for Chelsea, Hazard has scored 35 goals and got 26 assists, which is an incredible record in the Premier League for an attacking midfielder. He has a minutes per goal involvement of 135.9 minutes which is really good for a player who still has their peak years ahead of them. At Chelsea, Hazard is seen as the main attacking force and the player most likely to be able to create something out of nothing. He is an exceptional dribbler as he often weaves his way through defences with his close ball control and low centre of gravity being key to his style of play. Moreover, his finishing abilities are improving year on year and it isn’t ridiculous to suggest that Hazard will be one of the world’s best players in the next few years as he continues to make a huge contribution in the Chelsea side.
At Lille, Hazard was seen as the star of the league already at the age of 21 and he achieved great things in France, with stats that deceived many into believing he would come to England and instantly be the best player in the league. Although he had some great seasons in France, the standard is higher in England and the physicality of the league makes it difficult for some players to adjust and Hazard suffered in his first six months.
However, he is developing quickly and in 12 months time could be the undoubted best player in the league. After the departures of Gareth Bale and Luis Suarez to La Liga, there isn’t an obvious best player in the league with Alexis Sanchez and Eden Hazard being seen as the best by different observers, but none of them have reached the levels that were reached by Bale in 2013 or Suarez last season.
This season, Hazard has scored 12 goals and has 8 assists to his name, which is a very good return, but he’ll be keen to get some more over the coming weeks to make it his best individual season as a Chelsea player. Meanwhile Sanchez has scored 14 times and also has 8 assists to his name. The Chilean has had a wonderful debut season and has achieved better numbers in the final third than Hazard with less playing time. Although when comparing the two, you have to consider that Hazard is playing in a team filled with talent with the likes of Diego Costa, Oscar and Cesc Fabregas all being quality players. Hazard is relied on less than Sanchez is. Sometimes Arsenal players are only looking for Sanchez in the final third as he is the player they expect to make things happen.
In terms of chances created, Hazard has created more than Sanchez with 87 chances created this season. This shows the creative side to his game which is sometimes overlooked. The Belgian has created a chance every 31.6 minutes, which highlights the way in which he influences games. Sanchez has created 67 chances which is still a very good return, but it shows that he is less creative than Hazard, which may be due to Sanchez looking to score more, rather than looking to assist, especially in the first half of the season when Olivier Giroud was injured.
It’s clear that Eden Hazard is a top quality player and at the age of 24, he is only beginning his footballing career which is exciting for all football fans, not only Chelsea fans, as we are witnessing a player develop into a world class talent in the Premier League. He has the potential to go on a similar path to Cristiano Ronaldo, but he will be a different player, as he doesn’t have the physical attributes of Ronaldo. However, he has the potential to become one of the top three players in the world if he gains consistency, as he can go matches without making much of an impact. After 100 games in the Premier League, Eden Hazard has emerged as one of the league’s best players. He, now, must become one of the best in the world.