Hakim Ziyech is not yet a Chelsea player — his transfer may be signed and sealed, but it won’t be delivered until the summer — but we’re obviously keeping a close(r) eye on him now than before.
So how did he fare in his first game since the move was announced? Not bad.
By all accounts, it was a fairly solid and typical outing, with the 26-year-old looking to create at every opportunity and continuously trying things. The performance was tempered by Ajax’s inability to make their dominance count and put their much weaker opposition, bottom of the league RKC Waalwijk, to the sword until the second half, by which time Ziyech had made way for Daley Blind.
Both Blind and Ziyech had missed time recently with minor injuries — it was Ziyech’s first start in almost a month in fact — and Ajax have been taking it easy in increasing their workloads and building up their match fitness, especially with a massive Europa League knockout round first leg coming up on Thursday against Getafe.
With the 3-0 win and AZ surprisingly losing to Twente the day before, Ajax have increased their lead at the top to six points. Ziyech’s targeting a league and Europa double on his farewell tour in Amsterdam.
Prior to the match on Sunday, he also collected a commemorative plate for 150 Ajax appearances from Director of Football Marc Overmars (who doesn’t look very speedy these days).