In 2011/2012, the season before he came to Chelsea, Eden Hazard scored 20 goals and picked up 16 assists in Ligue 1 for Lille. He has never come close to that total since.
His best goal-scoring effort in the Premier League since then was two seasons ago, when he got 16, along with 5 assists. This season however he has notched 7 already, and is well on course to beat that total of 20.
What’s changed? Well he’s playing in an attacking team that’s played relatively weak teams in the league for one thing. But he’s also fundamentally changed his style. His shots per game so far this season stand at 2.9 according to WhoScored. That’s the highest it’s been in a league season since… you guessed it, that record setting 2011 season in Lille, where he had 2.8 per game.
Since then his league efforts have consistently been much lower: 1.9, 2.1, 2.1, 1.2, 2.1, 2.1.
The jump from hovering around 2 a game to around 3 a game doesn’t seem like much at first glance, but that’s a jump of 50%, and you notice it every time he steps on the pitch now. His love of passing to a teammate in the six yard box has delighted and frustrated Chelsea fans in equal measure over the years – but now he’s pulling the trigger more often, and he’s reaping the rewards.
He’s still going to struggle to match that total of 16 assists – not surprising really when Alvaro Morata is the less goal-shy of your two strikers.