We had to wait a bit longer than we might have initially imagined to see Hakim Ziyech in action for Chelsea, but the delay appears to have been worth it. The Wizard of AMS has 2 goals and 2 assists in his 4 starts for the club, with his wand of a left foot feeling particularly Oprah-esque last night against Sheffield United, handing out gifts all over the pitch. You get a pass! And you get a pass! Everyone gets a pass!
He could’ve easily had a hat-trick of assists had Timo Werner’s chipped shot not found the goalpost instead of the back of the net, almost immediately after Thiago Silva finished off a Ziyech corner. As it was, he had to settle for just a brace, officially, though he was heavily involved in all four of Chelsea’s goals in the 4-1 win.
And of course it wasn’t just about passing. Here’s Ziyech stealing a soul.
For Ziyech himself, it was just another day at the wizarding office.
“We played a good game. The first 10 minutes were a little difficult because we started a bit sloppy but after 1-0 we controlled the game. We could have scored more goals but we played well again.
“[...] I’m not afraid to give a pass. I feel comfortable here in the squad with all my team-mates. I’m really happy and I think that’s why I’ve started so well.”
The Premier League tends to adjust quickly to signature moves and strategies, so it’ll be interesting if teams start adjusting to Ziyech’s trademark left-footed crosses and switches from the right flank. But for now, they’re proving indefensible for opposition defenders, and Chelsea are gleefully taking advantage.
“I always look at [my teammates] when I play the ball. Usually eye contact is enough and you could see it worked well two times.
“You know [the opposition] like it when we play the ball to feet. So I saw Kovacic running into space ... sometimes you have to give those balls because [the defenders] don’t know what to do with them. It was the first time I tried it and we scored straightaway.”
-Mateo Kovačić; source: Chelsea FC
Considering that his understanding and chemistry with the rest of his teammates is still in its early stages, the future certainly looks bright.