The near-endless cycle of domestic, continental and international football has led to the concept of burnout being welcomed unquestioningly into the game’s lexicon.
With the summers between the last two World Cups containing a Copa America (2011), a European Championships (2012), and a Confederations Cup, elite players suffering dips in form through physical and mental fatigue is understandable.
Yet the exploits of Chelsea’s PFA Player of the Year Eden Hazard refute the suggestion that such a tailing off is inevitable.
Hazard is one of three Premier League ever presents in Jose Mourinho’s starting XI this season.
Meanwhile, the Belgian has featured from the off in all bar five of the Blues’ outings across all competitions, playing no part whatsoever in only two.
His stellar 2014/15 came off the back of a summer holiday curtailed by the Rode Duivels’ involvement in the World Cup in Brazil, an assault that ended only after the quarter-final stage.
That sojourn in the land of samba was itself an addendum to a 2013/14 in which Hazard was voted second in the PFA poll he won recently, also scooping the Young Player of the Year award with a handy 49 all-competition outings under his belt.
Credit is due, not just for the 24-year-old’s bamboozling dribbling, but for the durability that has seen him take his game to new heights this term.
There remains time yet for the Belgian’s powers to have a still greater say over the season too, with Chelsea set to move within a single win of the Premier League title if they can pull the rug out from under Leicester’s relegation-cheating resurgence.
The Stamford Bridge side are a check-the-watermark 3/4 to extricate three points from the Foxes at the King Power Stadium and his away-scoring chops are sure to play their part.
Hazard has found the net in six of his last ten away games across all competitions, with the last four opening the scoring.
The former Lille star is 6/5 to bag at any time at the King Power Stadium, 2/1 to strike in a Chelsea win and 17/4 to grab the game’s first goal.
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