Eden Hazard or Gareth Bale - Who is better?

The Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur stars have been two of the Premier League's best players in recent weeks. But who would you rather have in your side?

Eden Hazard and Gareth Bale are two players in simply outstanding form right now. If Tottenham and Chelsea are to win a game right now, you can count on either player making a decisive contribution to the victory.

The fact both are doing so at such a crucial stage of the season is testament to their ability, both shaking off the huge pressure to consistently produce.

Bale is a candidate for Player of the Year after his sensational run of form, and has recently been compared almost non-stop to Cristiano Ronaldo. He is linked almost daily to Real Madrid, with the latest price tag linked with him coming in at £70 million.

Eden Hazard arrived this season at Chelsea with a big fee of his own to justify, he too compared to Real Madrid's superstar. At £32 million a lot was expected of him, and after a good start to the season, in recent weeks since returning from suspension he has been irrepressible.

Both players are full of confidence, and are a joy to behold. Chelsea and Tottenham fans should feel very lucky to have both their superstar's available to them. But who is the better player and who would you rather have available to your side?

Bale is a year older than 22-year-old Hazard at 23, with the Belgian in his first season in English football. The debut campaign certainly has not been a hindrance to the new arrival, potentially an advantage even as defenders struggle to work out how to deal with him, especially early on.

Not that it has helped. Hazard has scored 8 Premier League goals and provided 11 assists. Bale by contrast has doubled Hazard's goal tally with 16, but provided only over half the number of his assists, with 6.

When you expand the statistics to cover all competitions, Bale has scored 21 goals, and provided 10 assists - a direct contribution of 31 goals to his team's season.

By comparison Eden Hazard in all competitions has scored 12 goals, and provided a total of 20 assists - directly contributing 32 goals to Chelsea, one ahead of Bale.

There are other factors to look at too. Despite the higher number of assists from Hazard- Bale provides more key passes per game in the Premier League (2.5 average) compared to Hazard (1.9 average). So are Bale's strikers letting him down?

Bale also completes more successful dribbles per game (2.4 average) compared with Hazard (1.8). Bale's goals - twice as many as Hazard, have come from twice as many shots. He has fired in 124 shots this season, scoring 16, whereas Hazard has scored his 8 from 54 attempts - meaning he scores every six-and-a-half shots compared to Bale's seven-and-a-half.

But all these are simply statistics, to answer what really is a very subjective question. Who is the better player out of Bale and Hazard could almost be rephrased as 'who will become the better player?'.

Considering neither have hit their peak, yet are running roughshod over the Premier League already, is a very frightening thought for defenders as to just how good they could be in five years time.

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image: © Ben Sutherland

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