Eden Hazard v Hector Bellerin: The key battle in Chelsea v Arsenal
By Will Rickson
Last Updated: 17/09/17 11:49am
Eden Hazard's tussle with Hector Bellerin could be crucial when Chelsea face Arsenal on Sunday.
Hazard played his first 13 minutes of Chelsea's season against Leicester last Saturday and could now be set for his first Premier League start since May against Arsenal on Super Sunday. His last start in any domestic competition was also against the Gunners in the FA Cup final when his direct opponent was Hector Bellerin - and the two could clash again in the key battle at Stamford Bridge.
Hazard and Bellerin have crossed paths in seven previous London derbies in all competitions, which have seen three wins for each team and one draw in April 2015. Hazard has struggled to make a huge impact in those meetings, failing to provide an assist and scoring only once - a goal in the second half of Chelsea's 3-1 home win in February, by which point Bellerin had been withdrawn due to a head injury.
Across his Premier League career, Hazard has scored or assisted a goal once every 260 minutes against Arsenal. His minutes-per-goal involvement has only been lower against three other opponents - Man Utd (366 mins), Swansea (354 mins) and Everton (341 mins). Overall, Hazard produces a goal or assist once every 212 minutes against one of Chelsea's 'Big Six' rivals, compared to once every 139 minutes against the rest.
Hazard's Premier League career
|Opposition||Apps||Goals||Assists||Mins per goal involvement|
|Combined v Big Six||47||15||3||212|
|Combined v Rest||128||42||32||139|
Unlike Hazard, who is making a steady return from his ankle injury, Bellerin hit the ground running this season, playing every minute of Arsenal's five games so far (prior to the Europa League game on Thursday). The Spaniard has been switched from right wing to left wing and back again this season, having also been left on the bench towards the end of last season.
However, his stats have not suffered - in fact, since Arsenal's switch to a back three in April, Bellerin's attacking figures have all improved, particularly chances created and touches in the opposition box which have crept up significantly.
Bellerin in the Premier League since the start of last season
|Last season in back four||Since switch to a three|
|Per 90 minutes|
|Touches in opp box||2.9||5.2|
|Passes in opp half||30.8||35.4|
|Passes in final third||17.8||19.1|
Both Hazard and Bellerin are recognised as two of the Premier League's fastest players, and their data last season backs that up. Only nine players achieved a higher top speed than Hazard (with Southampton's Shane Long leading the way at 35.31 km/h), but Bellerin was not far behind the Belgian, clocking in at just under 35 km/h. The Arsenal man also covered more ground and averaged more sprints than Hazard last season, so should be able to keep pace again on Super Sunday.
PL running data last season
|Distance per 90||10.4 km||11.4 km|
|Sprints per 90||64.8||67.0|
|Top speed||35.03 km//h||34.85 km/h|
A fit and firing Hazard would give Chelsea a big boost in their bid to gain revenge over Arsenal for the recent FA Cup final and Community Shield defeats, but Bellerin has proved a tough opponent for him in the past and is likely to give little ground again on Super Sunday.