Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho will be watching this competition just like any other top flight boss and there are three key areas he’ll be concerned about, where Hazard’s performance dropped from Belgium’s first game against Algeria.
Hazard was arguably Chelsea’s most important attacking player last season and Mourinho will be keen for his left sided playmaker to address the tactics he’s encountering in Brazil in Belgium’s final group game against South Korea.
|Match||Matchday||Country||Pos||Duel Won||Successful Final Third Passes||Touches||Mins|
|Eden Hazard||vs Algeria||01||Belgium||MF||11||18||69||90|
|Eden Hazard||vs Russia||02||Belgium||MF||10||15||58||90|
Hazard won fewer individual duels against the Russians, which suggests they found a more effective way of dealing with him in general open play.
It won’t be the biggest area of concern for Mourinho because it’s difficult for Hazard to battle away at times when teams double up against him and he doesn’t always have an outlet to offload possession.
He also made more successful final third passes in Belgium’s first World Cup group game against Algeria.
Hazard is a player at his most effective in the opponent’s final third, that’s where he’s at his most dangerous.
It’s naïve to suggest the dip is down to poor decision making, it’s more likely to do with the idea that he had fewer options against Russia with his teammates not providing the movement that he’s normally accustomed to.
The fewer number of touches he had against Russia will be an area of concern for Mourinho and something he’s likely to want to see improve over the rest of the tournament.
Fewer touches suggests that a player is generally struggling to get into a game but Hazard now has enough quality to make the right decisions at the right times in important matches, regardless of whether his touch count is on the low side.
However, against Algeria and Russia, Hazard made the right call at the right time to setup two goals, which Mourinho is more likely to focus on.