Feature

Key battle: Can Hazard break Jones resistance?

Will Rickson (Sky Sports) 4 Nov 2017
Eden Hazard, Chelsea, and Phil Jones, of Manchester United

Chelsea winger is back to his best but the stats show that Man Utd defender is the toughest to beat in the PL

Chelsea's Eden Hazard will face a mean Manchester United defence led by Phil Jones at Stamford Bridge on Sunday. Who will come out on top? Will Rickson, of Sky Sports, examines the statistics.

Hazard scored his first Premier League goal of the season when Chelsea secured three points at AFC Bournemouth last Saturday, while Jones has been the leader of the Man Utd defence this season, starting all 10 Premier League matches in a team who have conceded only four goals.

Jones's importance is emphasised by the fact that he was off the pitch due to injury when two of those goals were conceded in the shock defeat at Huddersfield Town.

That means United have only conceded two goals (both away to Stoke City) in the 833 minutes that Jones has been on the pitch in the League this season.

In fact, Jones's minutes-per-goal-conceded rate is by far the best of any regular defender to have played a minimum of 600 minutes in 2017/18.

Best defensive records 2017/18
Player Mins Goals conceded Mins/goal conceded
Jones (MUN) 833 2 416.5
Bailly (MUN) 630 2 315.0
Valencia (MUN) 900 4 225.0
Stones (MCI) 766 5 153.2
Walker (MCI) 764 5 152.8

But at Stamford Bridge Hazard and Chelsea will provide one of Jones and United's sternest tests so far this season.

Since his first Premier League start of the season against Manchester City at the end of September, the rankings show Hazard back among the very top players in the categories where he has traditionally excelled: dribbles completed, chances created and free-kicks won.

Only Arsenal's Mesut Ozil (15) has created more chances than the Belgian since late September, while only Watford's Richarlison, West Ham United striker Chicharito and Crystal Palace's Andros Townsend have earned their teams more free-kicks.

Hazard since first 2017/18 start
  Total PL rank
Successful dribbles 14 1st
Chances created 13 2nd
Free-kicks won 10 4th

See: Where Chelsea rank for converting Hazard’s chances

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