No matter what happens in the summer, Eden Hazard has had a fantastic season in a Chelsea shirt once again. A player so vital to this Chelsea team, if he does leave it would leave them without one of the best players in the club’s history. Maurizio Sarri’s style of play has experienced its fair share of criticism this season, but Hazard has thrived having his most productive season to date. The fact that he is a 50/1 shot to win the PFA Player of the year award is madness considering the season he’s had.
As mentioned, this is his most productive season in the league so far. Being involved in 28 goals (16G 12A) makes him the third highest player involved with the most goals in Europe’s Top 5 Leagues. With only Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi ahead of him. He has had to manage this playing with strikers that have been in mostly poor all season with Olivier Giroud, Gonzalo Higuain and Alvaro Morata who joined Atletico Madrid on loan. Sarri even utilised Hazard as a false nine looking to use the Belgium man in a similar role as Dries Mertens from his time at Napoli. This never brought out the best in Hazard but he has managed all season to keep up his level of performances.
The stats speak for themselves; Most goal contributions (28), most assists (12), most MOTM’s (13), most chances created in open play, most fouls won, most dribbles completed and most points won. Even in a struggling team, with players such as Barkley, Kovacic, Willian and Pedro starting for the majority of the season. The fact he has been able to produce these stats with this Chelsea team proves just how good a season he has really had.
Compared to Other Players
At the bookies, players above him in the list include Virgil Van Dijk, Raheem Sterling, Mohammed Salah, Saido Mane, Bernado Silva, Sergio Aguero, Fernandinho and David Silva are all ahead of him. If you notice, all these players are all from the top two sides – Liverpool and Manchester City. Which is fair enough because all those players are having great seasons and it’s reflected in their team’s performances.
However, none of those players have the same stats as Hazard; similar perhaps but all of them are in fully flowing performing teams with fully fleshed out starting elevens, squads and settled managers. Whilst Chelsea’s squad may still be very good it doesn’t mirror the same quality all over the pitch. The main argument for Hazard being that he is performing better than those players above in a team that is under performing and had a much worse season than Liverpool and Manchester City.
Why He Won’t Win
Unfortunately, even if he finishes the season with a flurry of goals and assists he still won’t win the POTY. The form of the teams above Chelsea and the sheer domination of Van Dijk this season will result in the Dutch defender taking the crown. However, my personal opinion is that Hazard has been the second best player in the league this season with Sergio Aguero or Raheem Sterling a very close third. Simply put it is impossible to look past Virgil Van Dijk.
I believe it should be measured on the effect that the one player has on his team as well as their personal stats to back it up. In Van Dijk’s case, elevating a team from a top four challenge to a team that can go blow for blow with City is no small feat. Hazard has been detrimental to Chelsea’s season like Van Dijk has to Liverpool. But, even if Liverpool don’t win the league he’s still the pick for the majority of fans. He’ll also be the first defender to win it since Vincent Kompany in 2011/12. To win this award when your team doesn’t win the league, you have to do something special such as break goal scoring or assist records which is why Hazard will fall just short.
This season has just echoed once again how good a player Eden Hazard is and you wonder whether Chelsea can hold onto him with Real Madrid poised to make a move. It also makes the game on Sunday versus Liverpool even more interesting as these two front runners this season go head to head.