It’s been a disappointing (first) season for Hakim Ziyech at Chelsea — so much so that we’ve even seen some exit rumors — but it could yet end in plenty of glory, and glory in which he’s played a crucial part. While his numbers are a far cry from his “Wizard of AMS” standard at Ajax, where he averaged 12 goals and 20 assists for four seasons, he’s scored a couple crucial goals in recent weeks that have helped Chelsea advance in the Champions League and, last night, reach the final of the FA Cup once again.
Saturday’s massive win over the Premier League champions-elect followed Chelsea’s elimination of Portuguese defending champions, FC Porto in the Champions League to reach that competition’s semifinals for the first time in seven years. As Ziyech put it, it’s been a perfect week indeed.
“It was a perfect week and we can enjoy that. Now it’s a special end to the season if you see what we are still playing for. All the ways are open and everybody is excited about it and we cannot wait to play those games.”
-Hakim Ziyech; source: Chelsea FC
Our attentions do have to turn to slightly more “mundane” games in the next week, though only in name, with massively important league games coming up against Brighton on Tuesday and West Ham United next weekend. Ziyech’s been part of the attacking rotation for Tuchel and will surely play a big role not only in our cup matches, but in our attempts to finish in the top four.
“Hakim is more of a dribbler, a passer, he turns in the pockets. So sometimes with these decisions, they are never personal. We just go for the different characteristics of the players. [But] Hakim showed me that he is ready, he showed me that he is ready when he comes onto the pitch from the bench. He showed me that he is ready from what I saw in training. This is the most important.
“These are crucial weeks, nobody can rest on what they have, we need to keep going on the pitch. Whoever is on the pitch, needs to show they deserve to play their part, to play their role 100% and be reliable. This is what Hakim did, what Timo did and what Kepa did today. This is very important and I am very, very happy for them. But on the other hand, it is exactly what we need.”
-Thomas Tuchel; source: Football.London
Tuchel’s been pressing most of the right buttons. Let’s hope that continues!