Hakim Ziyech already looking like brilliant transfer business from Chelsea

Paul Macdonald
Paul Macdonald
  • Updated: 19 May 2021 15:43 BST
  • 4 min read
Hakim Ziyech already looking like brilliant transfer business from Chelsea

Hakim Ziyech has had to wait quite a long time to make his mark on Chelsea, but he is proving that the skills that made him such a standout performer in the Eredivisie with Ajax can be transferred to the Premier League.

The Moroccan produced an outstanding display in the 4-1 win over Sheffield United on Saturday. He provided two assists and his set-piece delivery could easily have created at least one more goal. In addition to his assists for Ben Chilwell and Thiago Silva, Timo Werner should have made it a hat-trick but lobbed wide when clean through.

Ziyech is not afraid to try things, and isn’t afraid of losing the ball.

There were some eyebrows raised when Chelsea spent in excess of £30m (€33m) on the winger last January – which feels like 100 years ago because of everything that has happened since. And with the Eredivisie cancelling their season, coupled with Ziyech picking up an injury in his first friendly outing for the Blues, this has been a long time coming.

But it’s the beginning of something special. Ziyech is not afraid to try things. He isn’t scared of losing the ball, because he knows that when he gets it right, his team will have an excellent chance of scoring.

Ziyech v Sheffield United:

STATISTICZIYECHRANK
FC RATING8.9Man of the Match
ASSISTS2Rank #1
BIG CHANCES CREATED3Rank #1
CROSSES5Rank #1
SHOTS3Rank #2

He’s very similar to Kevin De Bruyne in this regard, attempting the passes no-one else does. Expect him to rack up many more assists as the season progresses – he already has three assists in just 190 minutes of Premier League action.

Many were concerned that Ziyech’s numbers in the Netherlands were somewhat of a mirage. After all, there have been a fair few Eredivisie exports which have failed to fire and the difference in levels should always be taken into consideration. But Ziyech was so obviously a cut above the level, and had been for at least two years. This was no flash in the pan. It was a player with lasting quality.

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  • And now he has his platform, it’s no surprise that a consistency of result and, crucially, goals. In Ziyech’s first four starts, Chelsea have scored 14 goals and conceded just one. In a team with a plethora of attacking options, the 27-year-old is proving to be an indispensable member of the squad.

    He’s already said that he is ‘feeling comfortable’ in London. He’s often been unfairly painted as a player who could disrupt a dressing room, when in reality he gave Ajax much more of his career than they perhaps should have had. But he’s here now, and it’s up to the rest of the Premier League to stop him.