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De Bruyne v Hazard: Brilliant Belgians go head to head

1 Dec 2016
Man City v Chelsea: Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard

Former club-mates come together on Saturday, but is Man City or Chelsea star best placed to prevail?

Two of the Premier League's most dangerous midfielders will go head to head when Chelsea visit Manchester City in Matchweek 14.

Eden Hazard this week said Kevin De Bruyne has been "on fire" since signing for Man City, one of two teams along with Liverpool who he believes can rival Chelsea for the title.

See: Hazard: De Bruyne can fire Man City to title

Which of the brilliant Belgians has the better of afternoons in Saturday’s 12.30pm GMT kick-off could have huge ramifications in the race to win the Premier League. 

Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne, Chelsea
Former team-mates Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne face eachother on Saturday

City will be hoping to knock Chelsea off of top spot and in order to do so they will need to exploit De Bruyne’s supply line.

The Belgian leads the Premier League for assists (seven) this season, having created 35 chances - second only to Dimitri Payet of West Ham United.

This eclipses Hazard's tally of one assist from 26 chances created.

De Bruyne v Hazard creativity 2016/17

  De Bruyne Hazard
Mins played 862 1,084
Chances created 35 26
Big chance created 8 0
Assists 7 1
Passes into final third 69 97
Succ. open-play crosses 12 5

The Chelsea winger's best work has instead come directly in front of goal, as he heads to the Etihad Stadium as the top-scoring PL midfielder in 2016/17, with seven strikes. 

This is five more than De Bruyne’s two goals, despite attempting only one more shot than the Man City midfielder this season (36 to 35). 

De Bruyne v Hazard goal threat 2016/17

  De Bruyne Hazard
Total shots 35 36
Goals 2 7
Mins/goal 431 154.86
Shot accuracy 38.46% 64.29%
Conversion rate 5.71% 19.44% 

But, interestingly, only one of Hazard's goals has come away from home and he has never scored against Manchester City in the PL, assisting twice in seven matches against the Citizens.

De Bruyne, who will be facing his former club for only the second time in the PL following last season's 3-0 victory at Stamford Bridge, is on the longest streak of PL appearances without losing in 2016.

He last tasted defeat in the top flight while playing for City in December of last year against Arsenal and Hazard will need to be on top of his game to end De Bruyne's 22-match streak without a loss.

See: Aguero v Costa: Battle of the goal kings

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