Are we satisfied with Hazard's form?
I’ve noticed a few mutterings regarding Hazard recently, and whether or not he is living up to expectations atChelsea. He hit the road running, that’s for sure, but seems to have stepped out of the limelight since then.
Let’s look simply at his performances in the premier league, since those are the most revealing of all.
The main worries that are floating around seem to involve his goal scoring record. 2 goals in 10 PL appearances is his record so far, and one of those was a penalty. It’s not outstanding, and if you take these stats at face value then, sure, he’s underperforming. Let’s also remind ourselves that he isn’t a striker, although Lampard shows that you don’t need to be one to score!
Statistics can be misleading though. His 2 goals in 10 PL appearances doesn’t tell the whole story at all, and he has been unlucky not to score more due to the woodwork and some spectacular saves. Furthermore, from their last 7 games, Mata is statistically stronger than Messi, but is he better? As great as Mata is, I don’t think so. That said, stats can also be very telling and it’s up to the individual to really decide how accurate they are as a performance indicator.
Whilst he hasn’t been finding the net a great deal, he has been raking in the assists. What counts as an assist is a little bit of a grey area, and each statistical index seems to have its own definition. If you limit what should count to direct open play assists, then he has 5. If you are, as I am, a little more generous, and include things such as winning free kicks and penalties, then I work him out to have 8 assists.
All in all, that is 10 goals in 10 PL games he has been involved with, and that IS impressive. I have worked this out myself from a variety of different sources, and, from what I consider to be an assist, this is how I see his stats.
His record for assists should be far greater too. Referees seem to have some weird mode turned on when it comes to Hazard. When he goes down in the middle of the pitch it’s a foul, but when he goes down in the box it isn’t! He should have won around 4 more penalties than he has, and some of these decisions that have gone against him have really cost us (QPR is one that stands out). This would also improve his goals record since he takes spot kicks for us when Lampard isn’t playing.
I’m pretty happy with how Hazard is playing, I think he is justifying his price tag, and I think that if Mata wasn’t outshining him so much, a lot of this talk wouldn’t exist. There are also the classic lines about him being young, and still finding his feet in a new philosophy of football. He is playing well. Well enough to justify his name as the second or third name on the team sheet in my opinion, and if it’s his goal tally that’s freaking you out, don’t worry, that will come.
You cold go a step further than me and look at his performances in all competitions, but it is the Premier League that reveals a player for what he truly is.
(follow me on twitter:@cody_bound)
Carefree & KTBFFH!