No assists in 20 games: Tuchel criticised over ‘copy-cat’ Ziyech at Chelsea
Former Chelsea defender Frank Leboeuf believes Thomas Tuchel is making a mistake with his usage of Hakim Ziyech.
Ziyech has underwhelmed in his first season for Chelsea, making just 21 starts across all competitions after signing from Ajax for an initial €40 million.
READ MORE: Havertz ‘showed up’ after Real Madrid snub
Tuchel has done little wrong in a fine start since replacing from Frank Lampard.
He has faced regular questions over the struggles of Timo Werner, which have attracted a lot of attention, but Leboeuf believes Tuchel is getting it most wrong with Ziyech.
Chelsea: Biggest signings in history
|Alvaro Morata||Real Madrid||59.5|
|Timo Werner||RB Leipzig||47.7|
|Mateo Kovacic||Real Madrid||40.5|
Saturday’s 2-0 Premier League win over Fulham saw Ziyech come off after 66 minutes.
Per FootballCritic, it was the 20th straight Chelsea appearance for Ziyech where he did not register an assist.
By contrast, Ziyech was a constant creator for Ajax, racking up 55 assists in his last three seasons there.
Leboeuf urged the Chelsea boss to look at how Pep Guardiola uses Riyad Mahrez, suggesting Ziyech is a “copy-cat” player who should only be used out on the right.
“I am more concerned about Hakim Ziyech,” Leboeuf said to ESPN.
“If he plays, why doesn’t he [Tuchel] put him on the right side?
“I saw him [against Fulham] very frustrated when he came off after playing like a number 10.
“I really don’t think that’s his real position.
“Tuchel really has to think that Ziyech has to play on the right side – that is where he is the best.
“It’s like Mahrez, he’s a copy-cat of Mahrez.
“I don’t see Guardiola putting Mahrez in another position than on the right side. He does not play anywhere else.”
Hakim Ziyech: Stats in 2020/21
It was a better day for another high-profile Chelsea signing, Kai Havertz.
|Man of the match||1|
Havertz scored a goal in each half, with Tuchel praising his response to being left out against Real Madrid last week and acknowledging he now has a selection headache for the second leg.
Leboeuf added: “Kai Havertz had a very good game and we should not forget that Edouard Mendy made three fantastic saves in the first half.
“It was not dominant but Chelsea just keep winning.”
Chelsea are six points clear of fifth-placed West Ham in the race for a top-four finish and play Leicester City in the FA Cup final later this month.
Next up is the second leg of their semi-final against Madrid on Wednesday, with the tie evenly poised at 1-1.