Eden Hazard

The hamstring injury suffered by Alexis Sánchez has seen Eden Hazard, last year’s PFA Player of the Year, flicker on to the radar of some Fantasy Premier League managers. Selling Sánchez frees up more than 11m, making a swap to Hazard (10.9m) easy.

Embed from Getty Images

Almost 12,000 managers have taken the plunge so far this week and the thought process among some seems to be along the lines of:

  • Hazard is a great player
  • He was the highest scoring FPL player last year with 233 points and he has scored more than 190 points in each season in England
  • I can afford him
  • José Mourinho played him as a forward in his last game
  • He faces Bournemouth at home on Saturday
  • Chelsea are improving

Sadly, from a statistical perspective, the last point only applies to the Chelsea defence as far as I can see. The Blues have only scored one goal in their last three Premier League matches (sto, NOR, tot) and they have averaged one shot less on target per game over the last four home matches (SOT, AVL, LIV, NOR) than their average at Stamford Bridge for the season as a whole.

Eden Hazard GW1-14 2015-16

Before looking at the figures, I have to point out the numbers from FourFourTwo StatsZone are different to those recorded in the Fantasy Premier League. The fantasy game credits Hazard with a goal against Arsenal in Gameweek 6 that deflected off Calum Chambers’ arm, whereas FourFourTwo StatsZone records that as an own goal from a shot off target. The game also credits Hazard with an assist for being tripped against Southampton in Gameweek 8 because Willian scored from the resulting free kick, but that is not recorded in the data shown here. Please make your own mental adjustments if you want to include them.

From the data, we can see Hazard has been doing well at creating chances for his colleagues – in fact he is creating more chances per 90 minutes of action this season than he did last season. The low number of assists could be down to those team mates failing to find the net more regularly.

In all the shooting metrics listed, Hazard is performing below the level at which he played last year. The only shooting measures by which the Belgian appears inside the top 30 midfielders this season is shots inside the box. It is good that he is taking most of his shots inside the box, but there are cheaper options doing it more regularly.

Embed from Getty Images

Last season, Hazard scored 14 goals, including four penalties, but he hasn’t had a spot kick this season. Even if we exclude penalties, Hazard scored with 56 per cent of his shots on target last season, which is at the very top end of what we might expect from a Premier League player over the course of a season. This season, Hazard’s shots on target conversion rate is at zero or 20 per cent, depending on whether you count the goal against Arsenal. Although regression for Hazard could mean scoring more, the low number of shots on target he has hit this season means that at best he would have scored two if he was converting at the league average.

Hazard might score against a leaky Bournemouth side and he could get a spot kick at any time, but I don’t see much in the current underlying statistics to get excited about. Caveat emptor.

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17 thoughts on “Eden Hazard

  1. Ruth_NZ says:

    Hi – you have made the case against so maybe I can make the – very strong – case for…

    2014/15 14 goals 10 assists: 233 FPL points
    2013/14 14 goals 10 assists: 202 FPL points
    2012/13 9 goals 16 assists: 190 FPL points

    A recent FFS poster said that “Hazard has given us no reason to invest”. This seems a pretty ludicrous statement to me given Hazard’s track record unless that poster thinks he’s past his best at age 24.

    By his own admission, Hazard was not fully fit at the start of the season. He found himself playing in a team that was way under-prepared. His confidence fell. I saw him play a few times at the Bridge and nothing was going right for him at all. But he is generally considered as the best player in the PL, Real Madrid would pay €100m for him right now, his class is obvious and he’s hardly in decline at age 24. Regression is an irrelevant concept when you look at his 3 seasons in the PL.

    The truth is that Hazard hit a spell of poor form (which can happen to anyone) and has had to work his way out of it. He is now visibly playing much better, Chelsea are improving and the fixtures are excellent. I only see an explosion of FPL points waiting to happen. It doesn’t need to be something out of the blue. It only needs to be something like he has done for 3 full seasons.

    Incidentally, last week’s OOP is a red herring. It doesn’t suit him and he won’t play there long-term. That team was selected to combat Spurs’ pressing game and to send a message to Diego Costa.

    The only question is whether now is the time. Well, the fixtures say so. Apparently his creation stats are even better than last season whilst his shooting stats are not as good. But are stats more important than good judgement? Unfortunately, stats-driven managers often only see the wood for the trees after they have arrived in the middle of the wood, because the stats become evident after the event.

    Hazard is not a punt, neither is he any more of a risk than any other player. He’s back down to his 2014/15 price levels now (just), a level at which his value is more realistic. The stars have aligned with Sanchez getting injured, making Hazard a pain-free replacement. Most managers don’t even need to adjust their squad shape to accommodate him.

    He’s a brilliant Sanchez replacement and the only thing that personally holds me back is that I’d have no Arsenal in that case. Sanchez to Özil is also a very realistic move given how much Arsenal will rely on Özil in the coming weeks. But I certainly wouldn’t look beyond those two.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Just found this superb blog last week.

      Great post Ruth. Agree with every line especially the part about him being better NOT oop.

      Re Hazard, I’ve done some of my own number crunching comparing Hazards stats this season from GW1-11 vs GW12-14 when Chelsea have started to how improvement.

      Hazards stats show a marked improvement in this period,

      ‘Per game’ figures show Shots and Shots in Box both more than doubled in the last 3 games vs the first 11, and both markers ahead of last seasons average. Mins per attempt up by 50% and only slightly behind last season.

      Chances created and Mins/Chance Created are up by around 25% and 12.5% respectively and around the same amount ahead of last season.

      Final third touches and final third successful passes are up around 50% in the last 3 games and again ahead of last season (by approx 10%).

      The only thing that’s down is his accuracy which has been poorer in the last three but can surely be expected to regress if he keeps getting the shots.

      (Stats from Opta tables on Differential FPL free site.)

      FFS lurker and Irish FPL statto.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Welcome Mr T and thank you for the contribution. I think a key point for me is “if he keeps getting the shots” because part of the problem is he hasn’t been getting many shots.

        Liked by 1 person

        • trevg1977 says:

          True. But last 3 games stats indicate an upturn perhaps. As does watching him play.

          For me he’s a proven player, at least hinting at form, and with near perfect fixtures attacking wise.

          Like

          • I’m only saying the stats mentioned here haven’t looked great this season, aside from chances created. I accept that those who have seen him play may have sensed an improvement in the last few weeks. Unfortunately, I don’t get to see many games so I tend to lean on the data.

            Like

  2. Ruth, you now how much I like you. But you are howling at the moon, mate! 😆

    This is, without doubt, the strangest bandwagon I have ever seen. Even if, like the Agüero thing, it somehow works!

    Like

    • Ruth_NZ says:

      I have been to Chelsea a number of times recently. He is! I don’t even need to look at the stats in this case, Doos. But whatever, I really don’t mind what others do.

      It’s not really a Bandwagon anyway, most voices I have read on FFS and FISO are against and many quite mockingly so. Pretty similar to when I brought Bolasie in a couple of weeks back. 🙂

      Like

        • Ruth_NZ says:

          A long time, almost certainly till after Xmas and quite possibly all the way through to GW28 (March). Basically until we start to hit DGW season. Palace have a good all-around fixture run right through till then and Bolasie (I believe) is the key player in their attack. His price is (still) great and he’s the kind of player that will go quiet for a week or two and then get a double-digit haul again.

          Basically I am entirely confident that he will deliver long-term value for 6.1m if I stick him in my team and forget about him. And that’s what I plan to do. 🙂

          Like

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