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Eden Hazard vs David Silva: Head to Head

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Manchester City travel to Stamford Bridge to take on a team that have so far won every Premier League game at the west London ground. Chelsea are currently five points clear of their lighter blue rivals and their 11th home win out of 11 will surely give them an easy run in to a fourth Premier League title.

But both teams are looking to recover from FA Cup shocks with Jose Mourinho's men falling to League One Bradford City and Manchester City losing to Middlesbrough–both at home.

If they are to bounce back from the cup troubles they will need their best players performing at their best. With Diego Costa out and Cesc Fabregas injured, the pressure will be on Eden Hazard to provide both the creative and cutting edge for the Blues. Meanwhile, David Silva will have to cope without the influential Yaya Toure once again and look to get the better of Premier League's most enforcing enforcer in Nemanja Matic.

While the Spaniard and the Belgian both have similar yet different roles to play in the game, whoever performs better is likely to come out of the game with three points in the bag. Here we take you through how they can expect to perform.

The battles

David Silva v Nemanja Matic

Chelsea's defence like to drop deep against their biggest rivals, but that should work to Silva's advantage. The space between midfield and defence is where he works his magic, but against Arsenal he found that space occupied by Francis Coquelin.

This week it will be the man Coquelin should aspire to be in Matic. The towering Serbian will be back his chances of doing just a good a job as Coquelin. Only Lucas Leiva and Nathaniel Clyne are averaging more tackles than Matic this season but his record of 2.3 interceptions a game is way down the list.

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Silva will need to offload passes quickly to make sure Matic doesn't get close. The playmaker generally chooses to make good use of his pace with quick one-two passes. His link up play with Sergio Aguero will be key to getting past the brick wall.

Eden Hazard v Pablo Zabaleta

We have all seen the video of Hazard leaving Zabaleta with his legs going in opposite directions on the floor. If you haven't here it is.

Hazard certainly got the better of the Argentinean on that day as Chelsea ran out 2-1 winners, but Zabaleta got his own back in the World Cup quarter-finals last summer. Hazard could not find his best form in Brazil because his team-mates couldn't do the leg work that allows him to work his way in from the left.

This season the hard work of Oscar, Fabregas, and Costa has allowed him to rekindle that incredible form, but the latter won't be available on Sunday and Fabregas is struggling. Should they both miss out Hazard will be facing Zabaleta with only one of the players he has spent most of the season playing alongside. He will be isolated and Zabaleta will fancy his chances.

The contribution thus far

Hazard has once again shown he can be one of the most creative and direct players in the Premier League. He has 22 goals over the last two seasons and 11 assists. Silva matches him pound for pound in the assists but has an inferior 13 goals over the last 18 months.

But Hazard has started each and every one of Chelsea's Premier League games this season while Silva has only been available for 16. In many way, Silva's ability to perform despite niggling injuries to both himself and team-mates puts him slightly ahead of the Belgium international.

Prediction

Both Silva and Hazard have a tough day ahead of them with both likely to be up against experience, world-class defensive players.

If Fabregas is fit for Chelsea, Hazard will find it a whole lot easier to get involved with play. Aguero has yet to regain full fitness after a knee injury but will likely start to give Silva a fighting chance of finding space in the final third. The Argentinian's pace should push Chelsea's defence back.

Hazard has the better chance of making the biggest impact with his pace, trickery likely to leave Zabaleta unsettled. Matic has dealt with playmakers so far this season and will be confident of keep Silva quiet.

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Topics:
Manchester City
Football
David Silva
Premier League
Chelsea
Eden Hazard

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