Sunday sees arguably the two finest talents in the league square off with Alexis Sanchez coming up against PFA Player of the Year rival Eden Hazard.
Unlike other comparisons, this one seems genuinely legit with both players occupying the same position in their respective teams whilst having similar styles.
For Arsenal, after a period of being shifted around the forward line, Alexis has finally found a settled position on the left of a front three.
His goal tally from that position is amazing, scoring 14 in the league and 22 in all competitions whilst also assisting 11. Hazard doesn’t fare too badly compared to that, scoring 18 in all competitions and assisting 10.
However, in terms of end product and deciding matches, it is clear to see that Alexis is more effective in the area which many may deem the most important.
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In other areas of the game though, the Belgian wizard does surpass Alexis. According to Squawka, Hazard completes more successful passes, creates more chances and dribbles past his opponent more.
The reasons for these starts are quite evident when watching how the respective players operate on the pitch. Alexis is very much a maverick. Almost like a player wound up like a toy and sent to buzz around the pitch for 90 minutes. His passes are generally first time and delivered in a hurry to try and speed up our attacks. You wouldn’t class him as a typical Arsenal player, in this respect.
Hazard on the other hand is more controlled in his play and floats around the forward line with more elegance.
Defensively however, they are incomparable given Alexis’s infectious work-rate and the stats clearly illustrate this. According to WhoScored, our Chilean star makes 2.1 tackles each Premier League game which completely dwarfs Hazard’s 0.8.
Jose Mourinho’s frustration with Hazard’s defensive side of the game has been well documented and it would be interesting to see which he’d prefer had he not been professionally tied to either player.
Hazard and Alexis are both supreme talents and are so close in their abilities that can only be separated by the preference of each individual and the needs of the team.
At Arsenal, we have many players keen to get on the ball and create and sometimes look to score the perfect goal too often… It is therefore a breath of fresh air that we possess a player capable of such individual brilliance.
Only Alexis would’ve attempted such a strike against Reading which now sends us back to Wembley.
I don’t know about anyone else, but I wouldn’t swap him for any other player in the world.