The Hazard Delusion

31/08/2018 Planet FPL

“I’m only staying out for one, honest” every time I go out for a beer after work I send the same message to my girlfriend. Ten pints later I stumble in and claim I lost track of time and am met with either silence or a riot. Every time I do this I say to myself I’ll just be honest save all myself the hassle for little gain and I won’t do it again.

Eden Hazard is back in my fantasy team. Arguably the most frustrating player in the league. Easily the most frustrating FPL player to own, Hazard comes off the back of a start and goal against Newcastle and now plays

Bournemouth (H)

Cardiff (H)

West Ham (A)

Liverpool (H)

Southampton (A)

Hazard career ave points per 90: 6.19

Last season Hazard started 28 league games and returned double figure points 7 times. There are two main reasons Hazard is such a frustrating player to own in FPL; firstly he tends to score fifteen points in one match before a run of four blanks. Secondly though he is very reminiscent of my early days in the fantasy football world when I would fill in a coupon in the Telegraph and send it off. As a youngster I could never work out why Roy Keane and Patrick Vieira were dirt cheap even though they were the two best midfielders in the league. Obviously their work and skill sets weren’t represented by fantasy points. Hazard, despite being and attacking, flair player is very similar. He does so much work, dribbling, flicks, turns round the corner but gets no returns in FPL despite often being the best player on the pitch. Three games last season stick out in my mind that exemplify this, the away win against Huddersfield, a home win against Crystal Palace and a draw against West Ham. Hazard ran the show in all three matches and rewarded with two points in each.

So you’re probably wondering what all the fuss is just don’t buy him. But there’s always that chance with Hazard that mythical other level ability he seems to have, the reason Real Madrid want to buy him. In my mind Hazard on his day is easily the best player in the league. The issue is that Hazard’s day happens about once a month. But from a purely numbers points of view, over the course of a season Hazard delivers, he has more 200 point seasons than Aguero despite playing a season less, is it just a perception issue that Hazard is under performing and not reaching his potential?

The early signs are that under Sarri he will see even more of the ball than he already did, Jorginho and Kante are providing both a solid base and some great passing that can get Hazard on the ball in free space in the “ten” role he flourishes in.

Even with the small sample size the upcoming fixtures make Hazard worth a buy but remember if he blanks in the next three games don’t sell there will be a fifteen pointer coming! And more importantly even when he blanks he’ll always be involved so you’ll always feel like he’s about to do something, enhancing the fun and making the blank all the more draining, and if watching live games with your player involved all the time making you sweat if he will return isn’t your cup of tea why are you playing FPL?

If anyone buys Hazard on the back of this article and Hazard blanks in weeks 4 and 5 I’ll buy you a beer, I’m only staying out for one though, honest.