Manchester United have been charged by the FA following their 1-0 loss to Chelsea in the FA Cup quarter finals. The Reds were criticized for their aggressive style of play, particularly against Eden Hazard. Chelsea boss Antonio Conte was fuming at the touchline and his reaction after the game was perhaps justified.
Antonio Conte on Man Utd fouls: "I think Hazard started the game and couldn't play. All the people look at this and then judge." pic.twitter.com/v6twajwr0G
— Squawka News (@SquawkaNews) March 13, 2017
The Football Association released the following statement yesterday:
“Manchester United have been charged for failing to control its players.
It follows an incident in the 35th minute of the FA Cup quarter-final match against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge yesterday [Monday 13 March 2017].
The club have until 6pm on Friday 17 March 2017 to respond to the charge.”
Stats reveal that United had committed a total of 14 fouls during the game which is not high for the records. 6 of them were on Eden Hazard clearly to disrupt play and stop the Chelsea charge. So is it the nature of the fouls that got them into trouble then?
Chelsea – 7
United – 14
HAZARD WAS FOULED 7 TIMES!!! pic.twitter.com/v1rk6oVf3x
— Horizon Zero Danny (@DaBlues1905) March 14, 2017
Hazard has been the target for many other teams in the league as well. We take a look at where the Belgian ranks for the most fouled players in football.
Gary Neville on Eden Hazard: "It will be difficult dealing with him. He does win fouls better than anyone else in the Premier League." pic.twitter.com/pdizLuC1Sd
— Squawka News (@SquawkaNews) February 4, 2017
The numbers prove that Eden Hazard is indeed the most fouled in the league having suffered 75 fouls so far. His style of play has been compared to the magician Lionel Messi as he operates on the left wing dropping inside on to his stronger right much like how the Argentine does on the right.
Stat attack: Hazard has been pegged more number of times this season than Messi. Shocking isn’t it?
Jose Mourinho was himself critical of referees not protecting the Belgian when he was the Chelsea manager.
Mourinho: "I would like more protection for him, but it’s beyond my control. I want Eden to be what he is – absolutely fantastic." [Express]
— Chelsea HQ (@Chelsea_HQ) July 27, 2015
However, Neymar leads the list for the most number of fouls suffered across Europe’s top-five leagues. The Brazilian has been absolutely sensational for FC Barcelona this season. His trickery and dribbling skills with the ball have been a nightmare for defenders. Neymar has won 99 fouls this season whereas his teammate Messi has won 51 fouls and the difference is staggering.
No matter how harsh the decision might seem to Manchester United, we will have to wait to see how the FA reacts in case of an appeal. Numbers definitely suggest that Hazard had sustained a bulk of the fouls and his impact in this scenario was massive.