'He was everywhere': Micah Richards blown away by 'outstanding' Chelsea player's work-rate against Spurs
Micah Richards was mightily impressed by Hakim Ziyech’s energy and enthusiasm off the ball for Chelsea against Tottenham Hotspur yesterday.
Speaking on Match of the Day 2 last night, Richards praised the Moroccan’s productivity whilst out of possession on Sunday.
Ask someone who had witnessed Chelsea’s 2-0 triumph at Stamford Bridge to pick a part of Ziyech’s performance they most enjoyed, it wouldn’t have been his work rate.
There is only one correct answer to this question.
A London derby never needs an excuse to explode into life, however, with the scores level at the interval, a firework had to be set off in order to start the party.
Or rather, a rocket was required to really get the atmosphere bouncing.
Let’s talk about that goal one more time
Ziyech provided the interstellar moment, aligning the stars to ensure his shot faultlessly found the top corner of the net.
The 28-year-old entered the coordinates of exactly where he wanted the effort to land, in that postage stamp space between the angle of bar and post.
Even the absence of gravity wouldn’t have allowed Hugo Lloris to leave the ground in time to save the day.
He, like the rest of the stadium, simply had to stand and stare as Ziyech let fly.
That, along with the forward’s cool and calm celebration, will be the picture that burnt into the brains of Chelsea’s fans across the world.
All round package from Hakim
However, Richards wanted to highlight the other positive parts of his game that might’ve gone unnoticed.
“Ziyech was outstanding today, to be honest. He was everywhere on the pitch,” said the former Manchester City defender.
“And this is the Ziyech we were used to seeing when at Ajax before.
“Since he signed, he’s not really lived up to the reputation. He doesn’t know where he wants to play or his best position in this system.
“But against this Spurs team, he tore them to shreds.
“This is what we want to see of him, because he’s got so much ability.”
No pain, no gain
To enforce this point further about Ziyech’s endeavour, MOTD2 provided a graphic of all the player’s standout stats from the day.
He ranked first for shots (five), shots on target (four), touches (96), crosses (10) and possession won (10), the latter of which Richards’ honed in on.
“This is what I like most about him; possession won, first, ten times,” he continued.
“And that’s what we want to see from Ziyech because he’s got so much ability, but we just want to see it a little bit more now.”
Due to Ziyech’s relaxed nature, sometimes the perception can be that he doesn’t want to get his hands dirty.
Yet, as proved against Tottenham, he is more than willing to put in the hard graft, as long as the rewards are suitable.
If that goal wasn’t a good enough gift, then Christmas must be difficult in the Ziyech household.