Hazard: Real Madrid's marquee signing just hasn't got going
Yet to score for Real Madrid, Eden Hazard didn't even manage a shot in the derby. At this stage of last season, he already had six goals.
Madridistas are still waiting for the real Eden Hazard to stand up.
With autumn now upon us, Real Madrid's marquee summer signing remains a shadow of his usual self, once again turning in an innocuous display as Los Blancos drew 0-0 with city rivals Atlético Madrid on Saturday. In his 77 minutes on the field, indeed, he did not manage a single shot. That's worrying.
Having been anonymous in Paris, Hazard offered some encouraging signs at the Pizjuán. Yet when Madrid's second big game of the season came around, he produced more of what we had seen against PSG. Not even the incentive of his duel with João Félix was enough to shake him out of his lethargy.
Zidane getting plenty of practice at defending Hazard
Zinedine Zidane has had to get used to defending the Belgian international in his press conferences, and was again called into action after the derby. "What is Hazard lacking?" the Madrid head coach was asked. "Not much," he responded. "We have to get behind him. He put a real good shift in."
But the fact is that Hazard simply has not got going. Yet to score, he has mustered just four attempts on goal so far for Madrid, and loses possession every four minutes. By comparison, he had already hit six Premier League goals for Chelsea at this stage of last season, including a hat-trick against Cardiff City.
Plenty of endeavour, no end product in derby
Hazard's first derby in the Real Madrid shirt won't live long in the memory. In a game played by two sides more concerned about not making a mistake than anything else, the winger was never able to really get comfortable with ball at feet - and, against this backdrop, was most effective when helping out left-back Nacho Fernández in defence, winning back possession twice in the process.
The 28-year-old was quick to offer himself in attack, working particularly hard to link up with striker Karim Benzema, but his willingness was not accompanied by end product: after all, in addition to his aforementioned shot-shyness, he gave the ball away on no fewer than 17 occasions.
Hazard was signed for exactly this type of game, but not for this type of performance. Rolling up his sleeves isn't enough; more is expected of him.
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