Gary Neville says there's one Chelsea player who really reminds him of Manchester City's £60m star
Gary Neville drew comparisons between Chelsea forward Hakim Ziyech and Manchester City’s Riyad Mahrez.
Speaking on Sky Sports after Thomas Tuchel’s team defeated Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 yesterday, Neville likened the first goalscorer to City’s own elegant attacker.
Whilst Mahrez has produced some scintillating scenes since being signed by Pep Guardiola for £60m (BBC), few can equal Ziyech’s stunning strike against Spurs on Sunday.
With the tie still in the balance, a sprinkling of real quality was required to separate the two sides.
Although instances of pure excellence have been few and far between during the Moroccan’s career at Stamford Bridge, he mustered up every ounce of talent to break the deadlock yesterday.
What a hit son
Chelsea charged out of the blocks after the interval, slightly surprising Spurs with their quick re-start.
Callum Hudson-Odoi drove at the Tottenham defence before feeding Ziyech, who had drifted slightly from his right flank.
Once the ball was moved onto his left foot, there was only one thought in the 28-year-old’s mind.
But imagination is very different from reality, meaning the plan still had to be executed.
It was delivered to the highest order.
The shot seemed to move in slow motion, as it arched through the London air, to finally greet the top corner with a warm smile.
Ziyech also allowed himself a cheeky grin, aware of what he had just pulled off, whilst absorbing the ecstatic energy rippling through the ground.
It was the icing on a very sweet cake for Ziyech, who arguably baked his tastiest ever performance as a Chelsea player against Antonio Conte’s men.
“I gave him man-of-the-match, I just thought he did really well,” said Neville.
“He’s up against real opposition within his own squad, from the likes of (Timo) Werner, (Christian) Pulisic, Hudson-Odoi, (Mason) Mount, they can all sort of play in the position.
“But he does have that sort of Mahrez feel about him, with the little bit of dip on the left foot. It’s a lovely left foot as well.
“He puts good delivery into the box on set pieces and it was brilliant, brilliant goal.”
Ziyech or Mahrez
Other than being amongst the left peg brigade, there are several contrasts to be made about Ziyech and Mahrez.
Both are slight in figure, yet bulging in class.
They have a velvet touch which is expensive on the eye.
Sometimes their casual demeanour can be misconstrued with a lack of trying.
On their day, the pair can win a game almost single-handedly, which is pretty much what Ziyech managed against Spurs.
Repeat this display on a regular basis and the silky creator could be key to Chelsea’s potential success this season.