Hazard's positive COVID-19 test disappointing, says Belgium boss Martinez

By Sports Desk November 10, 2020

Roberto Martinez labelled Eden Hazard's positive coronavirus test "disappointing" as the Belgium head coach lamented the Real Madrid star's absence.

Hazard will miss Belgium's international friendly against Switzerland on Wednesday and the Nations League showdown with England four days later after contracting COVID-19.

The 29-year-old attacker tested positive prior to Madrid's 4-1 LaLiga humbling at the hands of Valencia on Sunday.

Hazard has featured just 25 times in all competitions for Madrid since arriving from Chelsea for €100million in June last year, scoring two goals and supplying four assists. In his final campaign at Stamford Bridge, he registered 16 goals and 15 assists in the Premier League alone.

Hampered by injuries and fitness issues in the Spanish capital, Belgium boss Martinez bemoaned Hazard's latest setback.

"Obviously we were all delighted to see Eden [Hazard] play in the last three games with his club and starting to look happy and free, being able to score," Martinez told reporters.

"I think we were all looking forward to seeing Eden play for the national team. I think that was good news for the club as well because to be able to play minutes and get games will help his match fitness.

"The positive [COVID-19 test] is a disappointing news but it's not abnormal in the current world we live in. I think being positive for coronavirus is not news anymore. 

"At the moment, we are just following the protocols of UEFA and making sure that Eden carries on working at home so he doesn't lose any fitness and see how quickly he can join the national team, if it can happen.

"But no, nothing mysterious about his positive [result], nothing at all. He's asymptomatic and he feels in good spirits and that's the only thing that matters."

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    Even in these extraordinary times, Barcelona letting Luis Suarez go to Atletico Madrid is starting to look like the oddest decision of the season.

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    It seems increasingly likely that Suarez, and certainly Atletico, will be at the top of the tree come the end of 2020-21.

    With the majority of sides having now played half of their matches, the Stats Perform AI team have run the numbers to simulate how the rest of the LaLiga campaign will play out – and it's good news for Diego Simeone.

     

    The data model estimates the probability of each match outcome – either a win, draw or loss – based on each team's attacking and defensive quality.

    Those ratings are allocated based on four years' worth of comprehensive historic data points and results, with more weighting given to recent matches to account for improvements or declines in form and performance trends.

    The AI simulation takes into account the quality of the opposition that a team scores or concedes goals against and rewards them accordingly.

    All that data is used to simulate upcoming matches using goal predictions from the Poisson distribution – a detailed mathematical model – with the two teams' attacking and defending ratings used as inputs.

    The outcome of the season is then simulated on 10,000 different occasions in order to generate the most accurate possible percentage chance of each team finishing in their ultimate league position.

     

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    Atletico have been given a 75.1 per cent chance of winning LaLiga, according to the model.

    Simeone's men are predicted to finish on 86 points, nine clear of the rest of the field. They are given just a 17.8 per cent chance of coming second and dropping outside the top four is considered practically impossible.

    Barcelona and reigning champions Real Madrid are predicted to end with 77 points apiece, with just a 12.4 per cent chance each of pipping Atleti to the title. Madrid have a 41 per cent chance of finishing second, slightly above Barca's 39.4, having beaten Ronald Koeman's side 3-1 in the first Clasico of the season at Camp Nou last October.

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