“Some men just want to watch the world burn.”
Twitter is a funny place. Certain people like to drop a grenade in the middle of a conversation and watch the chaos as it ensues. This happens on a daily basis when one fan says one of their players is better than an opponent’s player and it gets hundreds of retweets and then fans from the other team chime in. People love the attention so make ridiculous comparisons, for example Juan Mata is better than Dennis Bergkamp. I’m not an Arsenal fan but even I felt offended at that comment.
There are plenty of these silly discussions, it’s the beauty of Twitter, but from time to time you see one that makes you go “hmm, they’ve got a point.” and this happens when I see people comparing Eden Hazard and David Silva.
I would like to make it clear now that I’m not a Chelsea fan nor am I a Manchester City fan. I’m a neutral in this debate and I appreciate both individuals as top class talents.
There are arguments for why both players are better than one another. On one side you’ll hear David Silva has better players beside him, the likes of Sergio Aguero and Yaya Toure, so is able to express himself more than the Belgian. However the counter argument to that is Hazard is the main man at Chelsea, so should have more of an influence on proceedings. Then a retort to that would be City play a more attacking style so are bound to score more goals thus meaning Silva will have a better output. Very true I may add, but Chelsea aren’t shy on scoring despite what many will have you believe, so with less attacking players surely Hazard would have more of a say? The flipside to that is Chelsea have a certain Cesc Fabregras pulling the strings in midfield, so in a way he’s doing the job of Silva, but from a deeper position and so on. So like I said, this argument is a decent one.
With that in mind I decided to compare the two players using Sqwuaka Comparison Matrix, looking at stats I believe are important for these players.
The above image are the stats from the 2014/2015 season. Key Passes and Chances Created show how creative the players are and the impact they have on their team. David Silva is the standout player here with an average of 2.93 Key passes per 90 and 3.17 chances created per 90. In comparison you’ll see Hazard averages 2.43 Key passes per 90 and 2.67 chances created per 90.
I also take a look at pass completion. Obvious but necessary, you need to retain possession in the league so being wasteful with passes is a big no. Both players are on a similar level, 87% and 86% respectively. Interestingly however Eden Hazard only averaged 58.7 passes per 90 whereas the Manchester City number 21 averages 72.53 passes per 90. So David Silva saw more of the ball, attempted over 14 more passes than Hazard per 90 yet only has a 1% less pass completion rate.
The goal scored stat surprised me, I thought Eden Hazard would’ve been way out in front due to taking penalties for Chelsea but he managed 14 league goals to Silva’s 12, and the Spaniard appeared in less games so his goals scored per 90 is better than Hazard’s.
Assists show a similar story, Hazard grabbed more assists overall but played more games so his stats peer 90 are inferior. The Belgian grabbed an impressive 9 assists last season compared to Silva’s 7 assists.
There is a trend occurring. Stats per 90 make out David Silva is vastly superior and this continues in the successful take-ons stats. Hazard completed 64.29% of his take-ons whereas Silva completed 73.91% of his. However, Eden Hazard completed 4.8 take-ons per 90 whereas Silva was trailing behind with 1.74. Then when you look at totals for the season Hazard completed more than three times the amount of takes-ons as Silva.
The above image shows stats from the current season. City have started like a house on fire, winning games comfortably and scoring goals like they’re going out of fashion. It’s a different story to Chelsea, who have only won one out of the 4 and have already lost two matches. You’d assume the stats of these players would highlight this but they don’t.
Hazard has averaged more key passes and created more chances than Silva in the opening 4 games yet only has 1 assist to his name compared to Silva’s 4. It seems Hazard is creating but the Chelsea side isn’t putting the ball in the back of the net.
They have identical successful take-ons but Hazard has completed 14 already which more than doubles David Silva’s 6. Does Silva have to take players on though? Usually he just threads a pass to Aguero and it’s a goal whereas Hazard often picks the ball up deep and has to drive Chelsea forward. He needs to beat players to get his team further up the field.
I did this comparison to try and see a clear winner but for me there isn’t one. Hazard is a creative force in a defensive Chelsea side whereas Silva is the player that makes the free scoring Manchester City team tick. There will always be reasons for one player being superior to the other.