Hazard Warning for Ireland


Chelsea’s Belgian star Eden Hazard has vowed his Euro campaign will be better than his performances in the Premier League this season.

Hazard says he can help Belgium perform well during this summer’s Euro 2016 tournament despite a bad season for him in the league. The Chelsea midfielder has managed to score just five goals this term during one of the worst campaigns in recent history for fans. The 25-year-old didn’t manage to score a single goal until January this year. Two of his strikes came against relegation battlers Bournemouth and those didn’t come until the very end of the season in April. Another one of those goals only arrived in the match against Tottenham at the start of May, the game that confirmed Leicester as champions

Despite the poor season, Hazard is sure to have a part to play in Belgium’s starting 11 during their Euro 2016 campaign. In his last four games for his country he has scored four times, almost the same amount he’s been on the scoresheet in 36 games for his domestic club. Although he didn’t set the Premier League alight, the Betway odds on the Euros suggest that the bookmakers are confident he can turn his performances around for the national team. And with compatriot Vincent Komapny ruled out of the tournament, Hazard looks set to captain ‘Les Diables Rouges’ in France. Belgium are currently fifth favourites to win the tournament outright, with odds of 11/1 to lift the trophy later in the summer. The team are only behind England, Spain and joint favourites Germany and France in the odds currently on offer.

Hazard himself has spoken to the press saying he’s determined to put his poor season behind him when the Euro 2016 competition gets underway. He told his national broadcaster Canal+ that he “hoped to return to top form”. He said “’I know that if I have a good Euros, my bad season will be forgotten. I am at 80-85 per cent of my abilities. Physical fitness comes with games.”

In fact, if you ignore the start of the season, perhaps Hazard is rediscovering the level he reached when he was awarded PFA Player of the Year twelve months ago. He has scored three times in the last three games for his club and four times in four games for his country. He may struggle to add to his Chelsea goal tally though as he faces strong opposition in the last two fixtures in Jurgen Klopp’s form side Liverpool and new Premier League winners Leicester City. Once he’s finished the season and on the short plane journey to France, however, Hazard will be aiming to put this season’s demons behind him.

Main image: Ben Sutherland

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