Eden Hazard has consistently been one of the Premier League's best players since he joined from Lille in 2012, but he has seemingly found another level following Maurizio Sarri's appointment.
Hazard's start to the 2018-19 season has been truly exceptional, with the Belgium international scoring seven times in eight Premier League games ahead of the visit of Manchester United and former coach Jose Mourinho this weekend.
Sarri's appointment as coach was always highlighted as a potential boost to Chelsea's attackers following more the more pragmatic approaches of Antonio Conte and Mourinho.
It was under the latter that Hazard enjoyed two of his best seasons at Chelsea, but Sarri seems to have transformed him into a player capable of challenging for the Ballon d'Or.
As Chelsea prepare to host Mourinho's United, we look at the Opta data which shows Hazard is performing even better than he did in his days working under the 'Special One'.
More shots, more goals
The most obvious element of change in Hazard's play under Sarri has been his increased shooting frequency. During his time under Mourinho's watch, he averaged 2.1 shots per 90 minutes, but this season that figure is significantly higher at 3.6.
There has also been an impact on his accuracy as he has found the target with 1.6 shots every match. His best record in any one season with Mourinho was 1.0 in 2013-14. Perhaps the only surprise this term is his 4.8 per cent conversion rate, well below the 16.2 per cent he posted with Mourinho in charge, but a decrease is to be expected considering how much more he is trying his luck.
Keeping things ticking
Hazard's increased threat around goal has not impacted negatively on his creative responsibilities as he has again proved more effective than he ever did with Mourinho, averaging 0.5 assists every game - 0.3 more than his spell with the Portuguese coach.
He is also enjoying increased effectiveness in possession, attempting 72.5 passes per match. The most he ever averaged in a season with Mourinho was 59.2, highlighting the fact he is far more involved in Chelsea's general build-up play.
Hazard was always a prominent figure under Mourinho and his 2014-15 campaign was arguably his best in a Chelsea shirt. That season he was particularly good on the ball, attempting 7.9 dribbles per match and completing 4.8 of them.
His figures this term (3.4 and 7.2, respectively) are not as impressive, but it can be argued he is showing maturity by looking for alternative options. After all, Hazard has had an average of 100.1 touches of the ball per match under Sarri – his best such record with Mourinho as his coach was 82.7.
It is a common misconception of Mourinho's teams that he expects players to do a lot of running, particularly the full-backs and wingers. But as it turns out, Hazard is running further on average with Sarri, having covered 10.4 kilometres per match this term, as opposed to the 10.3km he ran every 90 minutes for Conte's predecessor.
22 de abril 2019
|NFL Draft 2019: Five sleeper prospects|
|NFL Draft 2019: Five potential first-round surprises|
|Chelsea 2 Burnley 2: Kante injured as Sarri´s men waste chance to go third|
|Kante off injured ahead of crucial period for Chelsea|
|Ruthless Saints thrash Hull FC, Warrington thump Rovers|
|Pant sends Capitals top despite Rahane hundred|
|AFC Champions League Review: Xavi stars in last-gasp Al Sadd victory|
|Brentford 2 Leeds United 0: Automatic promotion hopes hanging by a thread for Bielsa|
|Verdasco edges ahead of old rival Lopez in Barcelona, Mayer books Nadal date|
|Martic rallies to oust Zidansek in Istanbul|
|Heavyweight Ali pays the Price for bite|
|Championship Review: Sheffield United put the pressure back on Leeds, Norwich City held|
|Valverde to be patient with returning Barcelona star Dembele|
|Valencia winger Cheryshev to miss Copa del Rey final|
|DaMarkus Lodge relishing chance to prove himself as all-round receiver|
|Hassan named in Afghanistan World Cup squad|
|Bayern ´not easy´ for Sanches, accepts Kovac|
|Sissoko could miss two weeks – Pochettino|
|Pakistan announce Shadab Khan treatment plans|
|Coman and Gnabry impressing Bayern Munich boss Kovac|
|Khan will not retire on Crawford loss|
|Pavard: Bayern signed me because I am one of the best|
|Eels open new home by thumping tame Tigers|
|Folau´s Rugby Australia hearing set for May 4|
|Henderson urges Liverpool to ´keep believing´ in title race|
|McCollum driven by past Blazers failure|
|Hertha confirm broken ankle for rumoured Bayern target Stark|
|Young promises United response in Manchester derby|
|Mbappe won´t leave PSG, insists Tuchel|
|Warriors and Trail Blazers extend leads, Celtics reach Conference semis|
|Red Sox, Yankees claim extra-inning wins to continue turnarounds|
|Matic: Man United didn´t have leaders against Everton|
|Tuchel calls for Champions League patience after Ligue 1 glory|
|MLS Review: Vela leads LAFC rout, New York end winless start|
|Kerr backs Warriors star Curry to bounce back quickly|
|76ers star Butler, Nets´ Dudley fined after playoff clash|
|We always feel the same happiness – Al-Khelaifi revels in PSG´s Ligue 1 success|
|Paris Saint-Germain 2018-19: More goals and tighter at the back – the numbers behind Tuchel´s triump|
|Warriors´ Thompson says he ended slump by jumping in ocean|
|Maiden winner Pan claims RBC Heritage as Johnson capitulates|
|We cannot influence Manchester derby, neither can United – Klopp trolls Solskjaer´s men|
|Stevens proud of Celtics for keeping foot on the accelerator to sweep Pacers|
|DeRozan fined $25k for throwing ball at referee|
|Garcia and Mladenovic put past feud behind them to send France into Fed Cup final|
21 de abril 2019
|I am sure to stay at PSG – Mbappe insists he is not Real Madrid-bound|
|Special Foden has something that´s difficult to find – Guardiola|
|Sarri: Chelsea´s League Cup run on par with Tottenham´s heroics|
|Munster condemn pitch invader who confronted Vunipola|
|NHL awards 2019: Brent Burns, Mark Giordano, Victor Hedman named Norris Trophy finalists|
|Paris Saint-Germain 3 Monaco 1: Mbappe leads title celebrations with hat-trick as Neymar returns|
|Celtics sweep Pacers to advance to semi-finals|
|Neymar makes return from injury as substitute against Monaco|
|Words mean little – De Gea apologetic for disastrous Manchester United performance|
|PSG in Notre Dame jersey tribute against Monaco|
|Benzema the world´s best striker – Zidane|
|Patel the hero as Challengers survive Dhoni´s devastating display|
|Injured PAOK captain comes off bench to celebrate club´s first title in 34 years|
|It is in our hands – Emery confident on Arsenal´s Champions League hopes|
|Liverpool prove to be a cut above Cardiff thanks to Klopp´s pitch-perfect plan|
|Neymar back on the bench for PSG´s clash with Monaco|
|Ringrose: ´Incredible´ Saracens awaiting Leinster in final|
|Hodgson prepared to fight to keep Zaha at Crystal Palace|
|All we can do is keep the pressure on Man City, admits Milner|
|This is my home – Marcelo wants Real Madrid stay|
|Cardiff City 0 Liverpool 2: Resilient Reds return to the Premier League summit|
|Arsenal 2 Crystal Palace 3: Zaha on target as Gunners slip up in top four race|
|Solskjaer: I´ll be successful at Man United... some of these players won´t be|
|Man United were rancid – Neville furious after ´embarrassing´ Everton defeat|
|Silva: Everton better team from first minute|
|Leinster set up Saracens showdown after proving too strong for Toulouse|