Jump directly to the content
MOROCC 'N' ROLL

Hakim Ziyech has produced 34 points in his last five games

Truth be told, Hakim Ziyech (£3.4m) has felt like something of a luxury player since he joined Chelsea in 2020.

A sensation for Ajax, the Moroccan has struggled to pin down a role at Stamford Bridge, under two different managers, beyond plumping the bench with expensive talent.

However, he may feel more sure of his status after a wonderstrike at home to Spurs extended his current run of fruitful form.

The 28-year-old produced the archetypal wand-of-a-left-foot goal to give the Blues the lead against their London rivals on Sunday – Thomas Tuchel even described the long-range effort as ‘ten out of ten’.

Pick that one out

getty
3
Pick that one out

Ziyech also scored from outside the box against Brighton the previous Tuesday in a game the reigning European champions could have easily lost.

Add in a penalty against Chesterfield in a comfortable 5-1 FA Cup victory and Chelsea’s No22 has scored three goals in his last five games, much-needed strikes at that.

This increasingly purple patch has resulted in 34 Dream Team points as he has also claimed Star Man awards in recent weeks.

Ziyech now has 83 points overall, one more than Phil Foden (£5.6m).

In fact, he’s nine points off the top ten midfielders at this stage which just goes to show how quickly an asset’s campaign can change when they tap into good form.

For the majority of the season, Mason Mount (£4.1m) has been the only Chelsea midfielder worth picking in the realm of Dream Team but Ziyech is forcing himself into the conversation.

Dead-eye, Hakim

getty
3
Dead-eye, Hakim

There are a few reasons why he hasn’t consistently produced the kind of performances that raised his profile so dramatically when in Ajax colours.

Injury niggles, a change in management, regular rotation, shifting positions – Ziyech has had to adapt to being one of many gifted players in a bolstered squad rather than the big fish in the medium-sized pond he was in the Netherlands.

Against Brighton, he appeared to exchange views with Romelu Lukaku (£5.4m) as the pair exited the pitch at half-time in a manner not exactly typical of friendly team-mates.

It could be argued that his impressive moments in recent weeks have come in isolation rather than as a cog of a cohesive unit – long-range goals are often the mark of a player who feels they have to do it all themselves.

Although the counterargument would be that Ziyech’s whole game revolves around the cleanness with which his left foot strikes a ball, be it for shot or cross, and therefore it’s unreasonable to expect him to be the perfect linking component in Chelsea’s attacking line-up – Mount occupies that role nicely anyway.

Carving out his niche

getty
3
Carving out his niche

Having been an output machine in Holland – he produced 130 goal involvements in 165 games for Ajax – Ziyech has scored 12 goals and provided eight assists in 63 games for Chelsea so far.

However, his stats for the Blues look better when you take into account how many of his appearances have come as a substitute.

He’s actually averaging a goal or assist every 169 minutes for Chelsea in all competitions, a very respectable rate indeed.

Two decisive goals in the space of five days will have done wonders for his confidence, although he does often look rather dejected on the pitch, even in the moments after scoring.

Tuchel’s side have endured something of a mid-season slump in terms of Premier League results in the last six weeks and the German gaffer may see Ziyech’s inspired individual form as a possible catalyst for a turnaround.

With an ownership of just 1.1%, Dream Team bosses would be wise to consider the southpaw dynamo at the very least.