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Talking Tactics

New signings: World-class Ziyech can do the spectacular

Adrian Clarke 18 Aug 2020
Hakim Ziyech, Chelsea

Adrian Clarke says Moroccan attacker is one of the best crossers in football and can help Chelsea unlock defences in 2020/21

Adrian Clarke assesses players who have changed clubs this summer and can make an impact in 2020/21.

Hakim Ziyech (CHE)

Ziyech could be one of the most entertaining Premier League players this season.

Skilful, well balanced, creative and capable of the spectacular, the 27-year-old signing from Ajax is sure to excite Chelsea fans.

At times last term Chelsea struggled to break down opponents who played in a low defensive block. Ziyech will give them a new dimension.

The Moroccan has the ability to conjure up moments of inspiration from nowhere.

Greatest strength

Ziyech’s strongest attribute is his left foot, which has wreaked havoc in the Eredivisie and UEFA Champions League for years.

Chelsea witnessed first-hand the damage he can cause last November, when he produced a pair of assists in a 4-4 draw at Stamford Bridge.

The inswinging right-wing cross for Quincy Promes's goal that night was a trademark Ziyech assist.

Indeed, he is one of the best in the world at producing hard-to-defend left-footed crosses from the right. 

Ziyech's assists against Chelsea

When Ziyech cuts inside on to his left foot, he will look to shoot from distance, too.

Half of his eight goals in 2019/20 came from outside the area, with two apiece in the Eredivisie and UEFA Champions League.

Ziyech stats 2019/20
Ziyech Eredivisie Champions League
Appearances 21 6
Minutes 1617 499
Goals 6 2
Assists 12 4

For making and taking opportunities, Chelsea ranked highly last season. They were second in the Premier League for shots and chances created, and third for goals scored.

The addition of Ziyech will only boost their creativity and his versatility will be useful for Lampard, who has lost Willian to Arsenal on a free transfer.

Like Willian, Ziyech can play in any of the three attacking-midfield roles. While his best position is on the right, he is equally adept on the left or as a No 10.

While Premier League football will be a step up for Ziyech, his performances in Europe show he is capable of performing on the big stage.

Ziyech in 2019/20
Stats per 90 Eredivisie Champions League
Shots 5.0 3.4
Chances created 4.3 2.7
Open-play chances created 2.4 2.3
Set-piece chances created 1.8 0.4
Dribbles completed 3.0 2.3

He is always looking to play a clever forward pass that releases runners in behind.

Chelsea’s new striker Timo Werner, who has great off-the-ball movement, will be excited to play with Ziyech, and Christian Pulisic, Tammy Abraham and Olivier Giroud are sure to benefit, too.

A proven attacking midfielder, Ziyech has the ability to light up the Premier League this season.

Also in this series 

Part 2: Lallana offers Brighton a cutting edge
Part 3: Hojbjerg can tighten up Spurs' midfield
Part 4: Salisu's physicality well-suited to Premier League
Part 5: Ake will balance out Man City defence
Part 6: Thiago Silva well suited to Lampard's style
Part 7: Willian will add creative flair to Arsenal
Part 8: Eze can make Palace an attacking force
Part 9: Intelligent Rodrigo a natural fit for Leeds

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