“It’s been a good week for me. Hopefully, it can continue. You need to play with confidence and not be afraid to make mistakes. But I feel good and feel at home. Everything is fine here.”
Hakim Ziyech’s post-match comments, Turf Moor, October 31, 2020
Is he the missing piece Chelsea have yearned for this whole time? Will he end up being an absolute steal at 37 million quid? Just two weeks after returning to full fitness, and Ziyech has become the first Chelsea player to score on his first two starts for the club since Diego Costa in 2014.
Shortly after his arrival in West London, Hakim Ziyech quickly bewitched Frank Lampard with his “inner confidence” but now he’s also excelling on the field. He ran the show in Russia last week in Chelsea’s 4-0 thrashing of Krasnador and was central to everything The Blues did up front at Turf Moor as Chelsea continued their recent fine form with a 3-0 win. The Moroccon Wizard has got a wand of a left foot and the fact that he’s only getting started will be worrying for the rest of the division. His crossing ability, confidence to take a ball in tight areas and set-piece acumen give Chelsea options that they simply didn’t have last season. Perhaps he was meant to be the glue that’ll bind the trio of Christian Pulisic, Kai Havertz and Timo Werner together in what on paper looks like one of the most potent attacks in Europe. He’s already been a breath of fresh air off the field and is now proving a match-winner on it. Maybe he is The Chosen One.
Ziyech has quickly shown that not only has he the talent and temperament to fit in at a big club, he can also play Lampard’s high-intensity pressing game, winning the ball back more times(six) than any other player in last week’s win at Krasnodar. Lampard has publicly said that he expects a lot of Ziyech and that he is still settling in at the club. This reflects on the vital role the 27-year old is set to be handed in the dressing room. He is one of the more senior figures among a fairly young and developing group of players. His decision-making in the final third, maturity and overall understanding of the game will rub off on the likes of Callum Hudson-Odoi, Mason Mount and even the brilliant Kai Havertz. His return to fitness will be crucial to get the best out of the German international, who has proved to be quiet when played on the far right. With Ziyech being a natural right-winger, Havertz will now be given the license to affect the game as a number 10 and link up with fellow German Timo Werner up front.
There’s something about him; whenever he has the ball in his feet, you get the feeling he’s about to dazzle you with an astonishing bit of play. He’s a very composed player who understands when and where on the pitch the tempo should be raised. He brings back memories of Chelsea legend Eden Hazard, who burst onto the scene in similar fashion soon after his move from Lille back in 2012 and yeah it may not be exaggeration to say that Hazard did alright during his time in London. Ziyech’s work rate off the ball stood out in his first two starts for the club and as it transpires, the collective pressing off-the-ball stretches back to his Ajax days and was an indispensable part of the team that fought its way to the Champions League semi-final back in 2019. Leading from the front, he’ll be demanding that the rest of the attack evolve their game for the progress of the team and join him in pressing the opposition.
He is a big-match player, as he has proved during his time in the Netherlands, especially in the Champions League. Though he only appeared for a brief cameo at Old Trafford and missed the Liverpool game entirely, Chelsea have among their ranks a player who can guide them to victory in such tight games that have fine margins, something they’ve lacked since Eden Hazard left for Spain. He’s developed a good chemistry with Reece James on the right and it’ll only be beneficial for the young Englishman to learn about positional-play alongside the Moroccon international.
Ziyech is a dead-ball specialist. He tormented Chelsea’s defence with his precise set-piece deliveries in the enthralling Champions League encounter at Stamford Bridge last season that ended in a 4-4 stalemate. Chelsea boast a richness of options to pick from when it comes to dangerous set-piece situations; Reece James, Ben Chilwell, Kai Havertz and now Hakim Ziyech. That’ll bode well for the likes of Timo Werner, Tammy Abraham and the forgotten-man, Olivier Giroud.
He’s a popular figure in the Chelsea dressing room and is apparently one of the most hard-working on the training pitch. He built a bond with the backroom staff at the club during his recovery from the knee injury he suffered before he joined the club. Positivity is surrounding the lad and if he can step up a few more gears and deliver according to his great potential, he can lead the club to a successful spell.