Alexis Sanchez v Eden Hazard: Who’s the best winger in the Premier League?

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Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez and Chelsea’s Eden Hazard are both world class stars, but who is better? Let’s have a look…

Goals

Alexis Sanchez has bagged 13 league goals this season in what has been a ferocious first season for Arsenal, after his £32 million move last summer. The Chilean has been a goal machine, winning Arsenal games with his brilliance in front of goal. His finishing is outstanding, and Sanchez will be looking to reach the 20 goal mark before the Premier League season has finished.

In comparison, Eden Hazard has also had a good goal scoring season so far, netting 10 times this campaign. The Chelsea star has been forced to play second fiddle in front of goal due to the arrival of Diego Costa, but the Belgian is still on course to reach his tally of 14 from last season.

With Sanchez currently leading Hazard on the goal scoring front (and when also considering that two of Hazard’s goals have come from the penalty spot), the Chilean win’s this category and takes the lead.

Alexis Sanchez 1-0 Eden Hazard.

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Creativity

Creativity is an interesting area, as both are very creative players with great innovation, with their tricks and flicks on show every week. Both players also like to go inside and drop into midfield to probe opposition defences, and do so very successfully, but what do the stats say?

Sanchez has grabbed seven assists so far this season, to Hazard’s six. The Chilean may edge it on assists, but the other statistics are where the Belgian comes into his own.

Part of a very polished and well put together attacking unit, Hazard contributes in more ways than just being on the end of Chelsea’s slick moves. The Chelsea man has completed 65 key passes to Sanchez’s 54, whilst completing almost double the amount of passes (1255 to 737) than Sanchez. Hazard also has interestingly made almost 200 more forward passes than Sanchez this season, displaying his attacking intent. It’s also worth noting that Hazard’s pass completion (88%) is far superior to Sanchez’s (77%).

Sanchez may have more assists, but Hazard is no doubt the more effective, creative player, and therefore equalises.

Alexis Sanchez 1-1 Eden Hazard.

Duels

Both players are involved in countless duels every week. Both players love taking on, and beating their fullback, leaving them on their backsides. It’s a huge part of both their games, but who is better at beating their man?

Alexis Sanchez has completed 83 take-ons at a success rate of 56% so far this season, with his delightful drop of a shoulder. His trademark skill that he embarrasses defenders with every week is sublime. As the ball is running out of play Sanchez slows down and does a step over as he fakes to go one way, drops a shoulder and flicks the ball the opposite way with the outside of his boot, leaving the defender for dead. You all know what I’m talking about.

However, Eden Hazard’s stats are far more impressive. The Belgian loves a drop of the shoulder, with his burst of acceleration giving defenders no chance. Hazard has managed to complete a mammoth 119 take-ons this season at a 63% success rate. Extremely impressive.

The Belgian winger has also suffered the most fouls in the Premier League this season, being upended 75 times to Sanchez’s 52 times, showing himself to be a bigger terror to defences.

Sorry Sanchez, you’re good, but Hazard is better. Hazard takes the lead.

Alexis Sanchez 1-2 Eden Hazard.

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Work rate

This category is more cut and dry.

Alexis Sanchez’s work rate is next to none. He is an animal. There are rumours that he refuses to take rest days and trains anyway, and it’s no surprise, the man works the hardest of any player in the Arsenal team. He has unbelievable stamina and isn’t afraid to get stuck in with the dirty side of the game, committing 34 fouls whilst tracking back this season.

Eden Hazard works harder under Jose Mourinho than he had done in previous years, but the Belgian is no-where near Sanchez in terms of work rate. Sanchez equalises.

Alexis Sanchez 2-2 Eden Hazard.

Importance and versatility

Sanchez is certainly the more important to his team. Arsenal need the Chilean firing on all cylinders if they are to secure a top four place.

However, Hazard is also of huge importance to Chelsea in their hunt for the title. Would Hazard have better stats if he played in a worse team, like Sanchez is? That’s very much up for debate, but it does seem that Sanchez is more of a key player for Arsenal than Hazard is for Chelsea, purely due to the fact Chelsea have more quality players.

Sanchez is also the more versatile player, able to play anywhere in the ‘front four’, on either wing, behind the striker or upfront. He could probably do a job at left-back if you asked him to.

Hazard on the other hand is a left sided midfielder, and not much more. He could no doubt play centrally, but he just doesn’t get the chance.

Unfortunately for Hazard, he does seem to be less important to his team when compared to Sanchez, and with Sanchez’s versatility being far better, the Chilean takes the lead.

Alexis Sanchez 3-2 Eden Hazard.

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So who is better?

Alexis Sanchez has won the comparison here, but no doubt Chelsea fans will have a point to argue. Eden Hazard is a world class star, just as Sanchez is, and comparisons between the two will go on until one of them leaves the Premier League.

One thing is for sure, having them both in one team would be outstanding, with Hazard’s creativity on one wing, and Sanchez’s work rate and goal scoring prowess on the other, defenders would be having nightmares.

Thanks for reading.

Who do you think is better? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter: @LukeHastings1.

The Premier League’s WORST XI this season

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At the end of another Premier League season filled with great performances, it’s always a bit of fun to look back at the worst performers that have graced the English top division this year. At a time when everyone is choosing their best team team of the year, I’ve chosen 11 players who I believe have performed the poorest this season.

Goalkeeper-

This year, Michel Vorm has had a pretty poor year by the standards he set last season. With only 7 clean sheets in his 24 appearances this year and a goals to save ratio of a minuscule 1.6, he has far from impressed. He has also performed much below par in comparison to the high standard of goalkeeping set by ‘keepers in the bottom half such as by Marshall, Speroni and Mannone (bar the odd error), who have almost single handedly kept their teams in games, something Vorm has failed to do, making errors and ultimately looking uncomfortable between the sticks.

Defenders-

Up first, I’ve gone with Left-Back Patrice Evra who seems to have lost his ability to defend this season. Evra has been part of the leaking Manchester United back line 30 times this season, being out of position too often, getting beaten on the flank and ultimately adding to United’s dramatic demise that has seen David Moyes lose his job.

Now onto another leaking defence belonging to Tottenham, and their centre-half Jan Vertonghen. Vertonghen has been very poor this year, making 3 major defensive errors, all of which led to goals scored by the opposition. After a great first season in the Premier League he has fallen off the pace, performing well under-par for large spells.

Alongside Vertonghen we have Kolo Toure who has sadly become the laughing-stock of the division. His almost laughable performances in his 20 games this year has seen him look a shadow of his former self from his time at Arsenal, making 3 major defensive errors, 2 of which led directly to goals. His highlight of his season being that comical own goal (and his reaction to it) against Fulham. However, Toure may have the last laugh as he looks likely to pick up another Premier League winners medal.

To complete the back-four, I’ve gone with another left-back in the form of Liverpool defender Aly Cissokho. Admittedly, both he and Toure have fallen out of favour at Liverpool mostly due to poor performances, but it really does emphasise how essential the forwards have been this year (most notably the ‘SAS’) for the potential champions. Cissokho’s 20 games this season led TalkSport presenter and former footballer Stan Collymore to describe him as the worst left-back he has ever seen, which sums up the Frenchman perfectly.

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Midfielders-

I’ve gone with a midfield trio, first up being Sunderland captain Lee Cattermole. The central-midfielder is a walking red card, but to give him some credit he has only received his marching orders once this year; however, with 6 yellow cards he still lacks discipline. He’s only scored 1 time this year and got no assists, admittedly this isn’t his role, but a pass accuracy of 82% is poor for a central-midfielder. He also made 2 errors leading directly to goals, adding to his poor season with bottom placed Sunderland.

Alongside Cattermole we’ve got 27 million pound man Marouane Fellaini who in his 18 games this season has far from justified his transfer fee. Fellaini has notched up no goals or assists this year, summing up David Moyes’ tenure as boss at Manchester United, with Fellaini looking a shadow of his former self from his time at Everton.

The final midfielder in my side has to be Ramires. Ramires has become the dirtiest player in the league, stamping on and kicking other players all season, leading to him receiving 8 yellow cards and 1 red in his 30 appearances this term. Antics on the pitch such as the dive against West Brom at Stamford Bridge and poor discipline such as that seen just last weekend against Sunderland (when he struck Sebastian Larsson), have made him one of the most unpopular players in the league.

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Forwards-

Just as I did in midfield, I’ve gone with a striking trio who couldn’t hit a barn door between them. Firstly, we have Ricky van Wolfswinkel. Saying the Dutchman has struggled since his reported 8.5 million move to Norwich would be an understatement, scoring only 1 goal since his arrival in the Summer. His shyness in front of goal has been the biggest issue, only having 32 shots in his 24 appearances this season. Just to put this into perspective, (although an extreme example), top goalscorer Luis Suarez has taken 166 shots in his games so far.

The final two in this team pick themselves. Roberto Soldado struggles to finish his dinner from anywhere other than the penalty spot since joining Spurs, amazingly going 1032 minutes of football during the season (October to March) without scoring a goal from open play. The 26 million pound man has far from lived up to his goalscoring reputation he gained playing in Spain, proving a disappointing signing.

To complete the team (and the bluntest forward trio you will find), we have Fernando Torres who has AGAIN had a disappointing season at Chelsea. No man has been ‘back’ more times than the 50 million pound striker, who has scored a mere 4 league goals this season. This of course frustrating his manager Jose Mourinho who has publicly claimed he has “no strikers”, adding further to Torres’ torment in another failure of a season since joining the blues from Merseyside.

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So that’s my worst XI from this season. You probably agree/disagree with several of my choices and I encourage you to leave a comment (or tweet me @LukeHastings1) to tell me YOUR worst XI from this season or alternatively any changes you would make to my team.

[ Please note that I chose these 11 from players who have played a significant amount of games this season (mostly over 20 games), which is why the likes of Erik Lamela don’t feature. ]

Thank you for reading!

(Source for statistics: Squawka.com)