Most of the Chelsea squad will feel they have something to prove, especially out of favour attacker Hakim Ziyech.
The left-footer was being tipped by many to have a stellar 2021/22 season because of his performances in summer friendlies. However, it’s been quite the opposite in the opening couple of months of the campaign.
Thomas Tuchel’s side have played 11 games across all competitions so far this season, with Ziyech featuring in only six of them.
The 28-year-old playmaker had a small shoulder problem disrupt him in August, but it’s a major concern to see the little he’s done when actually on the pitch.
His £33.3million transfer looked a bargain when he was signed from Ajax in 2020, but right now he’s got so much to prove just to justify that price tag.
Ziyech making a mockery of pre-season Tuchel claim
For Ziyech, he underachieved during his debut season in English football last year.
The winger managed just six goals and four assists in 39 appearances in all competitions for Chelsea, which isn’t a reflection of how good he was in Holland with Ajax.
A lot of Blues supporters have been willing to give him the benefit of the doubt in the hope he’ll improve in a second season, something which is yet to pass.
Chelsea manager Tuchel even made an excited pre-season claim tipping Ziyech, along with Kai Havertz and Timo Werner, to shine in their seconds years at Stamford Bridge.
“Maybe it’s also sometimes a question of composure, but also of experience and having a second-year in the Premier League for Kai Havertz and Timo Werner, a second-year for Hakim Ziyech. Adapting and everything not being new will be a huge point. I’m confident,” Tuchel said in August.
Ziyech is making a mockery of that right now.
It’s not too late for Ziyech at Chelsea
If Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Ross Barkley are now being spoken about for more minutes this season, Ziyech shouldn’t give up hope he can force his way into the best Chelsea XI.
One goal and zero assists in six matches this season is poor for Ziyech. However, it’s his all-round game and lack of involvement that is most concerning.
He needs to try get back to playing with freedom on the ball and executing his creatives ideas with far greater consistency.
The Moroccan attacker has the potential to be a top provider for centre-forward Romelu Lukaku, but the duo need to strike up a partnership on the pitch.
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