Pitchside Europe

Hazard has room for improvement in Europe

Eden Hazard has been in great form in the Premier League lately having netted six times in 15 appearances, including two wonderful goals against Sunderland last week.

In Europe however, he has not been quite as impressive, failing to score in six games last season and finding the net just once this season.

One may argue that it is harsh to judge the Belgian wizard solely on goals - after all his role in the team is to create too. However, what's striking is that he's created just one chance for his team-mates in his three Champions League games, compare this to the fact that he creates over 2.5 chances per game for his team-mates in the Premier League, a stark difference.

Eden Hazard: Chances created in the Champions League

Eden Hazard Chances created in the Premier League
These screenshots were taken from the Squawka Football App - Download it here

Part of the problem has been that Hazard has been more shot shy in Europe, with just three efforts (one per game), compared to 2.1 shots per game in the Premier League. One reason for this is that he has been left out of the squad recently - for example against Schalke at home, having failed to get back to London on time and missing a training session.

In the game prior to that, away at Schalke, he was excellent. In this game, while he didn't create any chances, he scored a great goal and was also brilliant on the ball. Hazard completed 95% of his passes and completed three successful take-ons. Against Basel in both ties though he was ineffective (albeit he did come on late as a sub in the last tie).

This screenshot was taken from the Squawka Football App - Download it here

In Europe his potential importance cannot be overstated. With his pace and ability to run on the ball, he could be crucial to Jose Mourinho's counter-attacking tactics that are likely to be implemented against superior sides that Chelsea will come across in the latter stages of the tournament.

Conclusion

Having come to Chelsea with such a huge transfer fee and after such a fanfare Hazard has began to live up to the hype in the Premier League. In Europe's premier tournament though, he has not hit the same levels for the club, netting just once in nine appearances in the Champions League for Chelsea - a poor return for a player of his quality.

Against Steaua he could be a key player though, with his recent domestic form having been excellent. If Chelsea do want to make headway in this competition, the form of Hazard will be vital.