Hakim Ziyech, the Chelsea winger has had an unimpressive spell at Stanford Bridge so far. Don’t get me wrong, he has not played badly, he has actually scored some important goals against the likes of City and Atletico Madrid. It’s just that Ziyech’s injury has restricted him from playing for long spells. Ever since he came to the West London club, he has been in and out of the team due to injury which meant he is yet to reach his best akin to his time at Ajax.
Last night’s FA Cup game against Chesterfield United however gave a hint towards the player that we know Ziyech can be. He was instrumental in a 5-1 win against the minnows. Despite the quality of opposition, Ziyech’s performance should be lauded for the improvement that he has shown.
Best African player to not play in the AFCON?
The AFCON has plucked some very important players from the Premier League. The teams like Liverpool, Arsenal, Watford and Leicester have lost a good chunk of their first-team players which would certainly put a huge dent in their Premier League season.
Chelsea has also lost a very important player in Mendy to the AFCON giving a huge chance at redemption for Kepa. Ziyech is also an African player but was not selected for his home country due to differences with his Moroccan team coach. Though it might be disadvantageous for the Moroccan team and sad for Ziyech to not represent his country, it is a huge boost for Chelsea.
There could have been no better time for Ziyech to come in form than when the team is getting depleted with increasing COVID cases. Chilwell has already been out for the whole season with Jorginho and Thiago Silva also injured and other players coming back from injury. This Chelsea team is in dire need of in form players who could take the mantle forward.
System change to accomodate Ziyech
Recently, Chelsea look to have been found out by their oppositions. The 3-5-2 that they have been playing in so far have yielded them Champions League, but now other teams seem to have found a way to nullify the midfield advantage. They try to block the wings and attack on the counter. Alonso being slow often gets caught out of position which Rudiger then has to cover leaving the central area unoccupied. This is how most teams have managed to score late goals against Chelsea.
The game against Chesterfield could also point to a change in the very system for Chelsea. Hakim Ziyech was seen playing as a right wing-back in a 4-3–3 that could help Chelsea get rid of this problem. Sure, Chesterfield is not an ideal position to draw any conclusion from but results seem impressive nonetheless.
Ziyech’s contract expires in 2025 so he still has a lot of time at Chelsea. If recent games are any indication of his potential I am all up to see what he has to offer next. Ziyech’s value has gone down significantly from his Ajax days due to unimpressive performance but also due to injuries. If he continues playing like this, Chelsea fans and football fans, in general, could be in for a treat.