Football

Hazard celebrates his goal against Man Utd.

Eden Hazard set to reach landmark goal total before several ex-Premier League stars

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Premier League leaders Chelsea welcome Tottenham Hotspur to Stamford Bridge later today, in the fixture which, last season, ended Mauricio Pochettinho's side's title hopes and handed the trophy to Leicester City.

Eden Hazard scored a brilliant 83rd minute equaliser in that game back in May, and he's been back to his scintillating best this season, registering seven goals and one assist from 12 league games so far.

The 25-year-old has already beaten his tally for the whole of the last campaign, and his excellent start under new manager Antonio Conte means he is closing in on a Premier League landmark.

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Hazard joined Chelsea from Lille back in 2012 and has scored 48 league goals since then in 150 appearances, with his first coming against Newcastle United in August of his first campaign at Stamford Bridge.

Just two goals away from his 50th Premier League goal, it means that the Belgian playmaker is set to smash some of the league's biggest names and greatest goalscorers in terms of the time taken to rack up a half-century of goals.

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Who can Hazard beat?

Chelsea legend Gianfranco Zola took 197 games to reach 50 goals in the English top-flight, while iconic Blues midfielder Frank Lampard took 284 matches to get to 50 league goals.

Ex-Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard, who just announced his retirement from football after a stellar 19-year career, took 281 games to bag 50 league goals.

Hazard is also set to beat three superstars who featured prominently in what was arguably Manchester United's best-ever midfield, with David Beckham, Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs taking 214, 211 and 229 outings respectively to reach the 50-goal mark in the Premier League.

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If the Belgium star scores two league goals within his next three games, he will match another United legend in Dwight Yorke, who took 153 games to reach the landmark, and he'll also beat Chelsea's former deep-lying marksman Gus Poyet, who needed 157 games to net 50 times.

Anyone else?

If we compare Hazard, used either as a winger or attacking midfielder, to some prolific forwards, other big names he could beat include ex-Everton star Tim Cahill (174), Sunderland's main man Jermain Defoe (174) and Stoke City striker Peter Crouch (200).

Hazard won't, however, beat Arsenal legend Robert Pires and three-time Ballon d'Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo to the 50-goal mark, with those wing wizards taking 137 and 147 games respectively.

Cristiano Ronaldo (R) of Manchester Unit

Conte, who recently described Hazard as "a complete player, with and without the ball", will hope the 2014-15 PFA Player of the Year continues his fine form as Chelsea aim to extend their current one-point lead at the top of the table.

Is Hazard one of the best players the Premier League has ever seen? Have YOUR say in the comments box below!

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Topics:
Chelsea
Paul Scholes
Steven Gerrard
Football
Premier League
Cristiano Ronaldo
Eden Hazard
Frank Lampard

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