3 ways Eden Hazard has been lost

Eden Hazard has been out with an ankle injury suffered against PSG on Nov. 27. Here’s what proportion Real Madrid has missed the star winger.

Real Madrid star Eden Hazard got injured with what appeared to be a minor ankle injury against PSG within the Champions League. He was playing at his absolute best level since joining Los Blancos at the time. Reports at the time said that he’d be most likely out for 10-15 days.

But Hazard has now been out for quite a month, with no further reports from the club on when exactly will he be back. While Real haven’t suffered tons thanks to his absence, there are games where he would definitely have made a difference between a draw and a win.

Here are three key ways Eden Hazard has been missed by Los Blancos:

1- Overload on Karim Benzema

In the five games before the PSG game where Hazard got injured, Karim Benzema’s stats read six goals and 4 assists. Since Hazard has been out, Real have played seven games of which Benzema started six. His stats in those six games? Two goals and an assist. While Karim has proved through his performances last season that he can score on his own, there’s little question that an in-form Hazard helps Benzema.

Without Eden within the line-up, Benzema has got to drop deeper to assist ball progression and linking the attack with the midfield. This puts extra load on him and he has got to specialize in both creating chances and finishing them. With Eden within the team, Benzema focuses more on goal-scoring as he features a teammate who helps ball progression through his impressive dribbling.

The overload on Benzema’s shoulders also affects Los Blancos’ goal-scoring form with Real’s goal output significantly down since Eden’s injury. Real Madrid scored 18 goals within the five games before Eden’s injury and just 11 goals within the seven games after.

2- Left flank dominance

The game against PSG was easily amongst Real’s best games this season offensively. While Los Blancos didn’t score many goals, because of wasted chances and an in-form Keylor Navas, Real still created plenty of chances. The Whites played aesthetically pleasing football, completely dominated PSG and deserved to win that game. one among the explanations for that performance was Los Blancos’ unreal dominance on the left flank.

With Eden Hazard within the line-up, Madrid can create a dominant left flank with the likes of Isco, Toni Kroos, and Marcelo/Ferland Mendy. With those four thereon flanks, Los Blancos rarely lose the ball thereon side. All four of them have great technical skills and have incredible press resistance. Their understanding of every other also helps create brilliant passing combinations to assist ball progression and/or to interrupt the opponents’ press.

Opposing teams even have to spend more of their players and energy that specialize in the left flank, with the whole defense sometimes shifting over to Madrid’s left flank. this enables Los Blancos’ right flank a lot of space which benefits Carvajal, Fede Valverde and whoever is playing because of the right-winger. an easy diagonal ball from Kroos and Madrid get acres of space on the right-wing with the opposition defense scrambling to shut the space.

Without Eden, Los Blancos lose this flank domination, especially when Marcelo is out too as Mendy is more defensive-minded. That leaves only Isco and Toni Kroos thereon left flank who struggle to dominate with only the two of them.

3- Breaking down low blocks

There has been a uniform theme altogether of Real Madrid’s games this season. If a team decides to press Los Blancos high on the pitch, Madrid will most likely bypass the press after a particular period and score a goal. Real have enough press resistant players to simply play through a press. But Los Blancos have struggled when a team decides to take a seat back and found out a coffee block.

In the past, the most reason Madrid would struggle against such teams would are getting caught on the counter-attack and conceding a goal. This season Los Blancos have zipped up their transition defense so getting caught in transition isn’t a problem. No, the difficulty this season has been creating goal-scoring chances against teams who found out a low block.

While Madrid has great players who patiently play the ball around from side to side to interrupt down a coffee block, it doesn’t work all the time. In situations like this, you would like a player who can run directly at the defense, dribble out of tight spaces and drag defenders out of position creating space for his or her teammates.

The only players capable of doing that in Real Madrid are Eden Hazard and Vinicius Jr. However, Vinicius still has got to improve tons in terms of his decision making and can’t affect a game an equivalent way Hazard does yet. So actually, Eden is that the only player capable of consistently breaking down low blocks through his dribbling and skill to urge out of tight spaces.