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Kevin De Bruyne v Eden Hazard: The key battle when Manchester City face Chelsea
Last Updated: 04/03/18 3:56pm
Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard will join forces this summer as key men in Belgium's 2018 World Cup bid. But their international allegiances will be forgotten on Super Sunday when Manchester City host Chelsea. Here, we assess the key battle.
De Bruyne is odds-on favourite to be voted as PFA Player of the Year, a prize won three seasons ago by Chelsea's Hazard, the only previous Belgian to win the award. And you only need to scratch the surface of the stats to see why De Bruyne is in pole position to claim individual honours this season.
Kevin De Bruyne's Premier League impact
|Assists from open play||13||1st|
|Chances created from open play||57||2nd|
He needs another seven assists to break the all-time Premier League record of 20 in a season, set in 2002-03 by Thierry Henry, now his assistant coach in the Belgium set-up. The 26-year-old is currently creating a chance for his team-mates every 28 minutes on average, so seven more assists is not an unrealistic target with 10 games remaining.
Hazard meanwhile has registered only three Premier League assists this season, but has been in excellent goalscoring form, with six goals in his last eight appearances in all competitions, including four goals in Chelsea's four Premier League away games so far in 2018.
This season has seen Hazard score once every 154 minutes - by far his best ratio in any of his six Premier League campaigns. His shots per 90 minute average is also at a personal high, and he has maintained his impressive 21 per cent conversion rate of last season. He looks well on course to make a fifth appearance in the PFA Team of the Year.
Eden Hazard's Premier League career in stats
|Season||Apps||Goals||Mins/goal||Shots/90||Shot conv. %||PFA TOTY|
In 2013-14, De Bruyne and Hazard were team-mates for club as well as country, but under Jose Mourinho, the duo only played 168 minutes of football together for Chelsea's first team. They were in the same starting line-up only twice, in games against Hull and Manchester United.
De Bruyne and Hazard together for Chelsea
Just over four years on and firmly established as one of City's main men, De Bruyne now only lines up alongside Hazard in the red of Belgium. After Sunday, there are 106 days until they face Panama in their World Cup opener, when all eyes will be how the duo link up.
But this weekend they are very much rivals in this heavyweight clash at the top of the Premier League.
Watch Manchester City v Chelsea live on Sky Sports Premier League HD from 3.30pm on Sunday