On Saturday Chelsea’s new signing Hakim Ziyech got his fourth straight start in all competitions as they hammered Sheffield United 4-1 in the English Premier League.
The Moroccan international seems to be now delivering what is expected from him at Stamford Bridge with his influence being felt on the field in recent games. He sat out most of Chelsea’s games at the start of the season due to fitness issues, but now the attacking midfielder is making steady progress.
Against Sheffield he assisted Ben Chilwell and Thiago Silva’s goals as the ‘Blues’ had a strong finish before the international break. In the previous Premier League game against Burnley, Ziyech was on the scoresheet as Chelsea won 3-0 away from home and he also scored in match day 2 of the UEFA Champions League against Krasnodar.
In all his four starts the 27-year-old was substituted after 70 minutes as he continues to get back to full match fitness while adapting to the English game.
The attacker is known for his prowess in front of goal, but his ability to pick a pass has been his biggest strength in his career. In 165 games played for Dutch giants Ajax Amsterdam he scored 48 league goals and assisted a staggering 82 strikes in the Eredivisie alone.
Speaking to Sky Sports after the Sheffield victory his manager Frank Lampard had nothing but praise for his new acquisition. “We played against [Hakim] in the Champions League last year. He’s a top class player,” said Lampard.
“He impresses you even more when you work with him. The Dutch league finished a long time ago, then he had an injury so to hit the ground running like he, has been remarkable. He will be a big player for us. I need players who can come in and lift the level. That’s hard. The midfield was great with their driving runs,” the manager concluded.
The Chelsea star also felt things were now coming together. “We played a good game, the first 10 minutes was a little bit difficult and we started sloppy, but after that we controlled the game. We played well again. They (teammates) like it when you play the ball into their feet. I saw Mateo Kovacic running in the space (for the first goal) and sometimes you have to give those balls and they (the defence) don’t know what to do,” he told Sky Sports
“I always look at the runs before I take set pieces. Sometimes all you need is eye contact. I feel comfortable in the team, with the squad and with the team mates,” he added.
Since making his professional debut with SC Heerenveen back in 2012 and later moving to FC Twente where he scored 30 goals in 68 league appearances the midfielder’s star has been on the rise throughout the years.
For the Moroccan national team, the Chelsea star has scored 12 goals in his 32 appearances so far. Many feel he has not lived up to expectation in the national team and at 27 he has time.
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By Prince Sobayeni