Archive for June, 2012

Eden Hazard has talent, there is no doubt about that. The amount of talent is up for debate. Some Arsenal supporters believe this was a huge talent that the Gunners passed on two or three years ago, whilst some think he is hugely overrated. I am of the mindset that if Arsenal had signed Hazard three years ago, we would be dealing with another Nasri situation as the player himself has stated that playing for Real or Barcelona is his ultimate goal. I also believe that a player without an ounce of shame, that can whore himself out to so many clubs over an 18 month period is not what Arsenal need.

So in this piece we will look at the stats of the 2 time French Player of the Year and see the reality of what the Gunners are missing out on. The following stats(goals and assists) are from the last two years where his stock has risen. Let’s see why!

 

2010/2011

Domestic League(1st Place) – League Total of:  7 goals 8 assists

10 matches vs.  top 5; Marseille, Lyon, PSG, Sochaux, Rennes:

1 goal 1 assist

10 matches vs. bottom 5; Arles, Lens, Monaco, Nice, Brest:

2 goals 7 assists

9 matches Europa League; Vaslui, Sporting, Gent, Levski Sofia, PSV Eindhoven:

0 goals 0 assists

3 matches National Team:

0 goals o assists

2011/2012

Domestic League(3rd Place) – League Total of: 20 goals 16 assists

10 matches vs.  top 5; Montpellier, PSG, Lyon Bordeaux, Rennes

2 goals 2 assists

10 matches vs. bottom 5; Auxerre, Dijon, Caen, Lorient, Ajaccio

6 goals 5 assists

6 matches Champion’s League; CSKA, Inter, Trabzonspor

0 goals 1 assist

7 matches National Team:

1 goal 1 assist

 

Conclusion

Hazards national team numbers and performances have been less than stellar. Many comments have already been made by various pundits and players regarding this situation, but an in-depth look at the numbers versus tough opposition tells you an even more interesting story. In 2010/2011 season Eden made all but 1 of his assists versus the bottom 5 teams plus added 2 goals. Compare that with the 1 goal and 1 assist he racked up that year versus the top 5 teams. So in total, in 10 league matches versus the top 5 teams and 9 Europa League matches; Eden totalled 1 goal and 1 assist in those 19 matches, and if you add the 3 national team matches you are looking at a dismal display.

This last year his numbers improved by leaps and bounds, on the surface. Again, we look at production versus the top 5 teams and the bottom 5 teams. In 10 league matches versus the top 5 teams and 6 Champion’s League matches, Eden totalled 2 goals and 3 assists in those 16 matches. Once you add the 7 national team appearances as well, you are looking at a paltry 3 goals and 4 assists in 23 appearances versus “top” opposition, compared to 6 goals and 5 assists in 10 matches versus the bottom 5 in his league.

I am not normally a stat guy, but what is every obvious in these numbers is that Hazard is nowhere near as impressive against tough opposition as he is versus less than adequate foes. What does this translate to in the EPL? I suggest that Hazard will have a VERY tough time adjusting to the more physical English league and his numbers will drop drastically from his last year in France. I don’t see how his style of play will translate appropriately to the EPL as there will be more contact and less lanes to run in as he had in Ligue 1. You only have to look as far as Gervinho to see how hard adjusting to the tougher EPL can be. Now I am not saying that Gervinho is as talented as Hazard, he’s not, but settling in and producing right away is something I just don’t see happening for Eden. Even a world champion player, Mata, had a so/so first season racking up only 6 goals and 13 assists in 34 appearances.

What does this mean for Arsenal? I think the kid is talented, but I didn’t like his attitude once he started linking himself to a different club every other day and I am glad the Gunners passed on him. Chelsea once again overpaid for talent(nothing new there), and we made out for less than half of Hazard’s fee for a player that in my opinion will be better than him, Chamberlain.

A quick glance at these numbers is only 1 of the indicators that Arsenal did okay not to jump into the Hazard sweepstakes. At least, that is the opinion of this Gooner.

What do you think?

Bring on the Euros 😀 Come on you Gunners!

 

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This is a very short entry. Basically, Vertonghen is close to a deal with Spurs due to not getting any assurances of playing time at Arsenal. He will be joining a team that he will walk into and start at the position he wants to play at, CB. At Arsenal he would have been a LB or a DM, down in the pecking order to TV5, Kos, and Merts in the CB role. It was not so long ago when Vertonghen was quoted as saying he would love to be reunited with Vermaelen, so yet again, the media decided to make up their own version of events. I tire of these ridiculous headlines of, “Vertonghen Snubs Arsenal”. The headline should read, “Arsenal balk at Vertonghen Playtime Demands”.

The media and bloggers are too busy trying to get hits instead of reporting the truth. Get real please.

Come on you Gunners!

Edit: On a side note, Belgium playmaker Hazard was in action tonight. He created a handful of chances, but was less than inspiring tonight versus England.

If you do just the easiest of stat checks you will see that Hazard was very effective in winning his second straight Player of the Year honors in Ligue 1. If you dig a bit deeper into his stats for the year you’ll find that in the 16 most important matches for Lille this year, 6 CL matches and 10 matches vs the other top 5 teams in Ligue 1, he managed only 2 goals and 3 assists. To me that says an awful lot about the player. More than the majority of his goals and assists came against lower table teams, hardly worth 35m and 150k+ a week, but then again we are talking about a team that paid 50m for Torres, so it’s not out of the norm for them is it?

I will have a more in-depth look at Hazard’s numbers on Monday.