Stats: Was Hazard better this year than Bale in final Spurs season?

Gareth Bale 3

Chelsea's in-demand attacker won a PFA young player of the year award but how does he compare to a previous winner from Tottenham Hotspur?

It stands to logic that Eden Hazard's most recent season with Chelsea, a year that has earned him the PFA Players Young Player of the Year award and Chelsea Player of the Year prize, should rightfully draw comparisons with Gareth Bale's last year with Tottenham Hotspur… a period that, like Hazard, attracted personal accolades akin to the Belgium attacker's.

They are both positioned on the left flank by graphic designers but often have a license to drift and cause havoc from a central position, something Bale did with greater aplomb than the current Blue star. They both carried their team, they both had enjoyed their most prolific spell in British football and, like Bale last year, Hazard could be on the cusp of a big-money transfer.

Is Hazard's most recent domestic campaign more of a success and of a higher quality in terms of cumulative performances than that of the Welshman from 2012-13? HITC:Sport and Alan Dawson investigate the numbers…

  TeamTouch/ AppPass AccTotal Pass/ AppDribble/ AppChanceAssistShot AccGoalAppMin
Hazard Chelsea 65.66 83.3% 44.06 6.00 92 7 43.8% 14 35 2,895

Hazard plays with such a direct and creative ingenuity that it is like he learned his football in the streets of South America, like the majestic world beaters who kicked leather around Brazilian favelas, rather than the back-gardens of the picturesque canal-town La Louviere, under the tutelage of his parents - Carine and Thierry - both sports teachers and former footballers themselves.

While his 2012 price-tag of £32m seemed exorbitant, it retrospectively appears money well spent, particularly when Mesut Ozil cost Arsenal £42.4m last summer and Manchester United had to pay Chelsea £37.1m for Juan Mata in January, yet is Hazard who has outclassed both the German and the Spaniard, despite operating under a lower fee.

Hazard plays best when the ball is at his feet. When he is in possession he is a threat to the opposition due to his ability on the football, his technical grace, close control and his penchant for dribbling. He plays as if the ball is magnetised to the instep of his flourescent boots and his maneuverability around the touchline and the centre of the pitch can often mug defenders right off as he beats one man then another within seconds of the other.

He is, as quoted by Voetbal International, one of the few players to: "float over the pitch with class and style and… waltz past human walls like Yaya Toure and Vincent Kompany."

An under-rated asset of Hazard's is his balance. He may not be the strongest athlete on the field, nor the most powerfully-built, or physically-impressive, but he is able to remain vertical despite the more robust challenges that he has been subjected to since transferring into British football.

This season, Hazard has recorded an 83% passing accuracy, returned 44 total passes per match and enjoyed 65 touches on the football. The difference between total passes and touches was largely down to the fact he does not play one-touch football, but enjoys multiple touches before releasing a pass, a chance or direct assist.

He, on average in the season just concluded, took on an opponent six times per outing, his creativity was underlined by his haul of 92 chances provided - seven of which were turned into assists - and he also can boast a high precision with his shots; as his 14 goals is testament to.

  TeamTouch /AppPass AccTotal Pass/ AppDribble/ AppChanceAssistShot AccGoalAppMin
Bale Spurs 63.52 78.5% 34.27 4.18 75 4 44.2% 21 33 2,924

Bale, like Hazard, was singled out as an exceptional football talent when he was a young age, however, it is arguable that Bale was always destined to be the better athlete, with elite-level speed and fast-twitch muscles. Gold medal Olympian Usain Bolt said of him just last month: "He's the fastest footballer in the world."

His former Physical Education teacher at Whitchurch High in Cardiff, Gwyn Morris, said: "Gareth was willing to do all different sports: cross-country, hockey and football."

It was also Morris who developed Bale's later famed dexterity from a young age, a key attribute that could go on to become pivotal when asked to play centrally, right wing and even as an auxiliary centre forward.

Bale, let's not bull-trap each other, was simply awe-inspiring in his final season in the Premier League - and the division is a poorer product without him. Spurs, of course, ended up richer, as his sale to Real Madrid was due to a successful £86m bid from Real Madrid - a world record amount that may only be broken should Liverpool asset Luis Suarez be sold in the transfer market.

Bale was - and is (see his whoppa of a winner against Barcelona in mid-April's el Clasico) a deadly finisher and a player capable of scoring highlight-reel goals. He is a set-piece threat, a danger from inside and outside the penalty area, an effective dribbler of the ball and a threat from counter-attack opportunities.

When it comes to clear statistical comparisons of Bale's last season in a Lilywhite Tottenham shirt to Hazard's performances in the current year, there are few key areas where the Welshman betters the Chelsea man, but, crucially, he is superior in shooting accuracy, total goals scored and, what a forward must ultimately be judged on - attacking efficiency (goals + assists / minutes).

Hazard has an attacking efficiency of a goal scored or assist provided once every 139 minutes he was on a Premier League pitch in 2013-14. Bale, in contrast, netted or played provider once every 117 minutes he was on the field in 2012-13.

Bale also had the edge in terms of technical finesse, athleticism and wow factor - things numbers alone do not convey.

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