ALEXIS vs HAZARD
As much as football is a team sport and victory or defeat being a consequence of the collective contribution of 11 players, it is possible to argue against the theory of having a go-to guy in every team. Every manager relies on a particular set of players to bear the standard of the kind of game he wants to play and the ability of those players to motivate others by their presence and performance is always key.
For London’s top two Premier League sides this season, it’s been a tale of seamlessly fluorishing while the other has rather floundered and flattered. Diego Costa has been immense with his goals, so has Danny Welbeck been (in a way) for Arsene Wenger’s side. But when it comes to the two who really run the shows, the jury is undeniably divided: Eden Hazard and Alexis Sanchez.
Both wingers have been very pivotal to their respective teams’ current positions in the League, with goals, assists and the threat of their trickery. But say we draw up a scale to compare both, who’s had the better season till now and could claim to be the League’s best winger?
Offensive contribution of both Hazard and Alexis this season in the Premier League
Player: Eden Hazard Alexis Sanchez
Total appearances 9 8
Goals/assists 2/1 5/2
Chances created 18 18
Shot accuracy 67 67
Pass completion 91 78
Dribbles per game 5.3 2.6
Coming into his third season with Chelsea, Hazard is certainly not a new player to the League. After an indifferent first season, he had to adjust his game last year to suit Mourinho’s philosophy where everyone works for the team and even if this deficiency was the reason Juan Mata was axed, Hazard’s bags of tricks meant his inability to do much defensively could be easily pardoned. The 23 year old has improved his game massively over the last 12 months, though his World Cup could best be described as ordinary. But he’s kicked off in excellent form this season, continuing to pose a threat to defenders with his ability to keep hold of the ball, slaloming past defenders with ease. Alexis’ teammate Laurent Koscielny was a victim of this special ability of his as he was quite a menace to the defence all day.
Two goals and an assist after 9 League games still shows a bit where he needs improvement if he’s to match the likes of Messi and Ronaldo in the race for the Ballon D’Or, having been shortlisted amongst the initial 23. He has to also begin to explore more technical opportunities to improve his game, like taking free kicks and corners, something synonymous with the best wingers and players. Adam Johnson, Junior Hoilett and even Seamus Coleman are all good dribblers too, but they are not going to be the best in the League by nutmegs.
Barely 4 months into his Arsenal career, Alexis is already the clubs’s most important player. Wenger relied on Giroud, Ozil and Ramsey last term but in their absence, the 25 year old Chilean has taken to the Premier League lika a duck to water. With his team struggling, the former Barcelona man has quickly acceded to the challenge of providing the drive and motivation, covering much distance with his energy and forcing the issue on the opposition, as the last Arsenal game at Sunderland shows. Though he has struggled to be more precise with his passin, recording just 78% accuracy, he has managed to create 18 chances for his teammates, same number as Hazard for Chelsea. He, however, has exceeded the Belgian in goals and assists with 5 and 2 respectively. This a vital statistic as none have come from penalties and considering how deep Alexis drops to pick the ball for the team in order to affect the play. He is not quite as good as Hazard when it comes to beating players but what is certain is that his energy takes through where his trickery stops. Alexis’ influence would have been even stronger if he had a Costa shouldering most of the goal burden of his team.
It’s been only 9 games and surely too early to make a judgement of both players. What is not in doubt is that both, perhaps with United’s Angel di Maria and Southampton’s Dusan Tadic, have stood out as the League’s most impressive wingers this season. The Christmas cluster of games will give us a clearer idea of thier strength and capabilities. For now, we can keep assessing and enjoying them.
In your own Opinion, who do you think is better over these few games? and who will eventually emerge the best at the end of the season?
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