If Eden Hazard can continue his fine early season form, he could make all the difference for Chelsea against Newcastle. If he doesn’t though, the limelight could be stolen by the toon army’s playmaker Hatem Ben Arfa.
After both players established themselves in the top level in France, both chose to move across the sea to England in an attempt to further their careers.
Hazard only arrived at Stamford Bridge this summer but has hit the ground running, assisting four of Chelsea’s six goals already this campaign. Ben Arfa showed his class in the second half of last season following massive injury disruption which has hampered the majority of his two years at Newcastle.
So how do Hazard and Ben Arfa match up according to statistics?
Hazard has four assists already from the opening two Premier League matches. In his three seasons as a first-team regular at French club Lille, he notched up 32 assists in 123 games, also scoring 32. His quick progression is clear as he scored 20 and assisted 16 of them last season, meaning he had a key contribution to a goal almost every game.
As for Ben Arfa, due to the injury problems, his first season isn’t worth analysing. Last season however, he made five assists and scored five goals from just 16 starts. When reading that, I can’t help but think what a season he could have if he had one completely injury-free.
Interesting here is the fact that Hazard and Ben Arfa both had three seasons as a first-team regular for their clubs. Ben Arfa played fewer games though, managing 16 goals and 13 assists in 55 appearances.
As first-team players in France
|Player||Eden Hazard||Hatem Ben Arfa|
|Key contributions to a goal/game ratio||Just over a goal every 2 games||Just over a goal every two games|
|Player||Eden Hazard||Hatem Ben Arfa (last season only)|
|Key contributions to a goal/game ratio||Two per game||Just under a goal every two games|
The statistics show a similar level between the players, with Hazard perhaps coming out as the winner because he’s less injury prone and plays far more often. But who will be on the winning side on Saturday evening?
I’m going for a narrow 2-1 victory for Chelsea.
Introducing the neat little app that’ll pay you to view content tailored to your interests:
ThisisFutbol.com are seeking new writers to join the team! If you’re passionate about football, drop us a line at “email@example.com” to learn more.