Former Chelsea goalkeeper Asmir Begovic has shared his thoughts regarding Eden Hazard’s excellent record from the spot.
Hazard continued his excellent form from the World Cup into the new Premier League season with a hat-trick in Chelsea’s victory against Cardiff last weekend. The Belgian superstar completed his treble in the 80th minute when he stepped up to the spot and send Bluebirds goalkeeper Neil Etheridge the wrong way before thumping the ball into the back of the net.
It was his second penalty kick in the new campaign, having also dispatched an earlier one against Newcastle United’s Martin Dubravka at Saint James’ Park, wherein despite the Slovakian international guessing the right way, the power with which Hazard struck the ball gave the keeper no chance.
He now has 15 successful penalty kicks in the English top flight, and while he had missed two, these were rendered academic as they did not have any effect on the results of those matches – a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace in May 2015 and a 2-1 triumph over Manchester City in April 2017.
It means his conversion rate is at 88% which is a marvellous statistic. Not many are better than the Belgian from the penalty spot and Begovic, who spent two seasons with Hazard at West London, has given his take on why it is hard to deny the winger from 12 yards.
“He has a very, very short run up, can go either side and even if you wait for him until the absolute last second, he has very good pace, can generate a lot of power on the ball, so even if you go the right way he’s played it beyond you so when he does what he wants to do it’s very difficult to save,” said the Bosnia and Herzegovina international, who now plies his trade at Bournemouth.
“He changes on a weekly basis, because he has a low centre of gravity, a smaller body, he can change at the last minute. If he opens his foot to go one way, he can make you go that way and he can turn his body round and go the other way.
“World class players from 12 yards are very difficult to stop.”