Hakim Ziyech has rapidly gone from £33m misfit to the main man at Chelsea… winger delivered another telling contribution against Lille and the sight of him hobbling off will be a major worry for Thomas Tuchel
- Hakim Ziyech’s corner was headed in by Kai Havertz for the opening goal
- He also caught the eye with his willingness to put it in the hard yards defensively
- But the Chelsea winger hobbled off on the hour mark after suffering an injury
It has taken a while but Thomas Tuchel appears to be warming to Hakim Ziyech.
In the thick of the action again, the Moroccan was quickly becoming Chelsea’s go-to guy before injury struck against Lille on Tuesday night.
His eighth minute corner was on the money, Kai Havertz couldn’t miss. It was a telling contribution to add to a growing list of telling contributions for the forward.
Chelsea winger Hakim Ziyech delivered another telling contribution against Lille
And to think Ziyech looked to be on his way out of Stamford Bridge in January.
Disillusioned and dispirited, the Moroccan was said to be open to leaving Chelsea in during the winter transfer window.
The constant links away from the club were entirely understandable; he’d played just 10 times for Chelsea up until mid-November.
At that point in time there looked little chance of his prospects improving under Tuchel. Departing – maybe on loan – would have certainly been tempting for Ziyech.
Kai Havertz headed in Ziyech’s corner for the opening goal after eight minutes
In retrospect, it all seems a bit ridiculous now. From a £33million misfit to Chelsea’s man of the moment, Ziyech’s a glaring example of how rapidly it can all change.
Tuchel will certainly be glad talk of Ziyech leaving last month didn’t extrapolate into anything more substantial.
The fact Ziyech hobbled off on the hour mark against on Tuesday night with what appeared to be ankle complaint will arrive as a major concern for the German head coach.
Tuchel will be hoping for positive news on his winger’s injury on Tuesday night, but by the way Ziyech trudged off he looks to be major doubt for Sunday’s Carabao Cup final against Liverpool at Wembley.
That will arrive as a bitter blow to Chelsea, who were finally seeing the best of Ziyech.
Ziyech also caught the eye with his willingness to put it in the hard yards defensively
His influence on this team is growing, just like Frank Lampard – the man that brought Ziyech to west London – predicted.
Lampard took a shining to the 28-year-old during Ajax’s memorable run to the Champions League semi-final in 2019.
That Ajax team was dripping in youthful exuberance and vibrancy – Frenkie de Jong, Mathias de Ligt and Donny van der Beek all at the heart of Erik ten Hag’s brilliant team that came agonisingly close to reaching the final in Madrid.
But it was Ziyech that Lampard fell in love with. The Blues legend was under no doubt that the attacker could cut it at Chelsea – and if anyone is qualified to make that call then it’s Lampard.
And if his recent form is anything to go by, then Ziyech is proving his former manager right.
Ziyech hobbled off on the hour mark with an ankle injury on Tuesday night
Three goals from his previous three Premier League matches paints a pretty accurate portrait of the attacker’s importance to Tuchel.
His start last night, ahead of Romelu Lukaku, Mason Mount and Timo Werner provided further evidence of his rising status.
It wasn’t only his assist that caught the eye, either. His poise on the ball and willingness to put it in the hard yards defensively a particular feature of his performance.
Time will tell, of course, whether it’s a flash in the pan and it’s invariably down to Ziyech to convince Tuchel that he can last the course.
His immediate job is to regain his fitness as soon as possible, though the return of Mount to fitness will help ease Tuchel’s selection concerns ahead of Sunday’s final.
But Ziyech – fitness permitting – now looks certain to play an integral role in Chelsea’s season climax. No one would have believed you – not even Ziyech – had you predicted that a few months ago.