Watching Hazard play after we first acquired him, I got the impression that he could, within a season or two, be the third best player in the world, behind Messi and CR. It hasn't happened yet, and his weaknesses, as well as his strengths, have been made apparent in the time he's been with Chelsea. Graham's article points out that Hazard's defensive skills could use some improvement, but there are a few other areas in which he needs some work:
- He has has long stretches of poor form, which is something you can't say about Messi and CR; I don't know if this is down to motivation, stamina, or some other issue. It wasn't an exceedingly rare occurrence that Hazard looked spaced out and disinterested on the field. What are your opinions regarding the potential causes of his vacillating form?
- Hazard has a very weak shot - it often seems to float like a badminton shuttle into the gk's hands. Furthermore, his shots are not the most accurate. Defenses and GK's are more skilled in the EPL than in France, and if Eden wants to develop a reputation as a prolific goal-scorer (at the moment, his record is buffeted by penalty kicks), he has to work on his shooting skills.
- He often doesn't know what to do at the end of a dribble, and gets dispossessed at the end of a run. This may partly stem from an over-eagerness to do something rather than wait a bit, as Eden knows he's at his best when he's on the move. However, sometimes, it's better to take a moment to survey one's options, and wait for teammates to get into better positions. Considering Eden's age, his decision-making in dangerous areas will almost certainly improve.
- Quite often, Eden looks for a call from the ref. He goes down quite easily, expecting to hear the whistle. To be fair, many of these instances are legit calls for a foul, and due to Eden's trickery on the ball, he gets fouled more often than most other players. However, since about late September last season, refs have become less generous to EH; with this information in mind, he should adjust his game accordingly, and try to stay on his feet after softer instances of a possible foul.
The above list of weak points in Eden's game is not meant to diminish his stature as one of the most dangerous players in the EPL; the fact that he is currently such a formidable player can almost make one forget that he is not even close to reaching his developmental ceiling. However, to actualize his considerable potential, Eden should work on addressing the points above; under JM's tutelage, Eden may soon find himself routinely being mentioned in the same breath as those other two guys.
In which areas of his game do you think Eden needs the most work? How close is he to fulfilling his potential?