Swashbuckling Chelsea winger Eden Hazard is just 1/2 to land the PFA Player of the Year award after the shortlist was announced on Thursday.
The Belgian bane of right-backs across the land heads up a sextext including Harry Kane (3/1), Alexis Sanchez (25/1), David de Gea (25/1), Diego Costa and Philippe Coutinho (both 50/1).
But has he done enough to deserve such rampant favouritism for the recognition of his peers?
News.bwin.com have compared him to the Hazard thwarted for the award during his first two seasons in England, it’s two winners during that timeframe and his four outfield rivals for this year’s gong* on a range of statistics to get to the nub of the poser.
Hazard v Hazard v Hazard
A glance over the Belgian’s key statistics from this season puts him around seven games ahead of schedule in terms goals and assists, compare to his first two campaigns in England, indicating he has improved steadily rather than astronomically.
Hazard v Suarez v Bale
If the Chelsea man continues to score and set up goals at a similar rate, then Gareth Bale’s award-justifying effort of 2012/13 is well within his compass.
However, even that would pale in comparison to Suarez’s princely direct involvement in no less than 43 goals from just two more appearances than this year’s favourite has so far amassed.
Will mirroring Bale’s contribution (for a superior team) be enough to elevate him above his contemporaries this season?
Hazard v Kane v Sanchez v Costa v Coutinho
In terms of pure direct-goal-contribution Hazard’s total of 20 in 31 games is well behind that of three of his four outfield shortlist rivals, with Kane, Costa and Sanchez all ahead of him despite having played markedly less football.
* De Gea, despite being office pick, is discounted as no goalkeeper has received the award since Peter Shilton in 1977/78.