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22. Hakim Ziyech


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That is utter madness. He would cost £80m if he played for a PL club.

If you have the BT app tune into "Ziyech:Wizard of AMS". Gives you a great insight into the man aswell as the player. He goes over his personal feelings when Nouri collapsed (he was right next to him

Ziyech has been one of the better players for the last decade in the Eredivisie. He had an outstanding Champions League campaign last year with Ajax. Journalists here question if he has the quality to

Judging by his latest Instagram post I think he's all good after the injury. Was just a precaution hopefully.

His long range diagonal passing even in his first appearence with very little chemistry was ridiculous. Imagine what it'll look like when he's dialed in with Pulisic and Werner running on to the end of those. 😱

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3 hours ago, Pizy said:

Judging by his latest Instagram post I think he's all good after the injury. Was just a precaution hopefully.

Just saw it and I noticed that there's a hand praying emoji in the post...

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6 minutes ago, Jason said:

Just saw it and I noticed that there's a hand praying emoji in the post...

😰😰😰

Would be just dreadful luck if he got a serious injury in the first appearence he made for us. 

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20 hours ago, Tomo said:

It was a great pass but I do find it quite ironic the praise Ziyech got for getting a "second assist" yet when Mount did similar against Tottenham (ie the goal mainly came down to his work but he didn't get the official assist) any attempt to give him the bulk of the praise was dismissed.

Fans : These players are mercenary that don't love the club, we need to give our youth a chance. We want academy player who love the club who want to fight for the badge. 

We got to top 4 with 4/5 inexperienced academy making key contribution. 

Fans : tammy not good enough, Mount not good enough, james not good enough, let's sign experience player to replace them. 

😅😅😅

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59 minutes ago, communicate said:

Fans : These players are mercenary that don't love the club, we need to give our youth a chance. We want academy player who love the club who want to fight for the badge. 

We got to top 4 with 4/5 inexperienced academy making key contribution. 

Fans : tammy not good enough, Mount not good enough, james not good enough, let's sign experience player to replace them. 

😅😅😅

😂😂😂

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High-risk, high-reward football: What Hakim Ziyech will bring to Chelsea

https://theathletic.com/2038942/2020/09/03/hakim-ziyech-chelsea-werner-analysis/

Ziyech-bad-pass-Willem-e1599070487150.png

Chelsea fans had to wait less than four minutes of Sunday’s first pre-season friendly to see Hakim Ziyech dust off what has become his signature assist. Receiving a pass from N’Golo Kante deep on the right flank, his first touch nudged the ball out of his feet and his second whipped it, in a devilish arc, over the Brighton & Hove Albion defence.

Callum Hudson-Odoi timed his run into the penalty area perfectly from the left wing and, even though he badly miscued his header, Timo Werner was on hand next to him to tap in.

They had seen it before, of course; at Stamford Bridge in November, when Ziyech’s brilliance helped Ajax surge into a 4-1 lead in a madcap Champions League group match that ended 4-4. Midway through the first half that night, the ball found him on the right flank and his eyes briefly locked with those of Quincy Promes…

Ziyech-assist-Chelsea-1.png

The result was a brilliant cross and precise header that rendered both Cesar Azpilicueta and Kepa Arrizabalaga helpless.

Ziyech-assist-Chelsea-2.png

Morocco international Ziyech loves receiving the ball in this spot — midway into the opposition half, on the right flank. When he does, he is effectively a triple threat: to drive infield onto his left foot and shoot, to work the ball towards the byline (often with the help of an overlapping right-back), or to carve open a defence with an incisive delivery from a position that makes him very difficult to effectively pressure or dispossess.

Promes was the primary beneficiary at Ajax whenever Ziyech chose to cross; time and again escaping opposition right-backs to supply cool finishes to pinpoint in-swinging deliveries.

Here, they are preparing to combine for the second goal in a 2-0 away win over Lille in November from virtually identical positions to the ones in the example above at Stamford Bridge three weeks earlier.

ZIyech-assist-Lille-1.png

The ball is lower when it reaches Promes this time, and he connects with the outside of his right boot.

Ziyech-assist-Lille-2.png

Ziyech and Promes combined to score almost the same goal twice more that month, one in each half in a 4-1 home win over Heracles in the Eredivisie. For the first, the Moroccan is slightly more central, and the defenders nearest to him could be forgiven for thinking he is lining up a shot…

Ziyech-assist-Heracles-1.png

… but he isn’t, and Promes gets himself another unmarked header.

Ziyech-assist-Heracles-2.png

Just before the hour they did it again, with Ziyech once more drawing multiple defenders towards him to shut down a possible shot.

Ziyech-assist-Heracles-3.png

This time, Promes has a considerably tighter shooting angle when the ball reaches him, but that doesn’t stop him scoring.

Ziyech-assist-Heracles-4.png

This should be particularly exciting to Chelsea supporters, because it is immediately translatable to the Premier League.

Kevin De Bruyne and Trent Alexander-Arnold are two examples of wide creators who consistently pick open defences with crosses from the very position Ziyech loves to take up. Chelsea head coach Frank Lampard also has plenty of candidates for the Promes role: Christian Pulisic and Werner are already capable of consistently making that run to the far post, while Hudson-Odoi has also made significant strides with his off-the-ball movement.

Ziyech deserves to be considered one of Europe’s most dangerous crossers, as much for the constant pressure he puts on defences as for his consistent quality.

Last season, he averaged 9.72 crosses per 90 minutes in the Eredivisie, not far off what Alexander-Arnold (10.70) and De Bruyne (9.81) managed in the Premier League. If he is paired with Reece James (6.55 crosses per 90) on the overlap, the barrage of targeted deliveries from Chelsea’s right side will be very difficult for opponents to shut down.


Pretty much everything about Ziyech’s game is high volume.

Last season, he averaged 4.98 shot attempts per 90 minutes in the Eredivisie, more than anyone else in the division. For context, the only players in Europe’s top five leagues who shot more frequently were Cristiano Ronaldo for Juventus (6.05), Paris Saint-Germain’s Kylian Mbappe (5.23) and Luis Muriel of Atalanta (5.14).

Of his 89 total shot attempts, 58 — or 65.2 per cent — were from outside the penalty area.

To say that Ziyech is open to trying his luck from distance is putting it mildly. It means he is capable of scoring spectacular goals, like this one to break the deadlock in what became a 3-0 win away at Valencia last October.

Ziyech-Valencia-goal.png

Ziyech is always prepared to hunt for his own shooting opportunities, with or without the ball. Here, in the first half of a 6-1 win against ADO Den Haag just before Christmas, he receives the ball in his triple-threat position with all three options open to him…

Ziyech-ADO-goal-1.png

…but he only has one of them on his mind. He drives infield onto his left foot and, having found a small window between three defenders, rifles a left-footed shot into the far corner.

Ziyech-ADO-goal-2.png

In this example, from a 4-1 win at Willem II in April of last year, Ajax have worked the ball out to Nicolas Tagliafico in a crossing position on the left. Ziyech has jogged in from the right and is calling for a pass.

Ziyech-Willem-goal-1.png

Ajax briefly lose and then regain the ball before it’s finally nudged back to him. It is played onto his supposedly weaker right foot but that doesn’t stop him rippling the net with a first-time hit from just beyond the D.

Ziyech-Willem-goal-2.png

Ziyech is likelier to be a scorer of great goals rather than a great goalscorer for Chelsea. He found the net once in every three Eredivisie matches for Ajax (38 in 112) and broke into double figures across all competitions in only one of his four seasons in Amsterdam. You can also expect him to frustrate team-mates — and probably Lampard at times — with his willingness to shoot from anywhere in any situation.

There is going to need to be a broader recalibration of shots among Chelsea’s expanded array of attackers next season.

Werner averaged 3.9 shot attempts per 90 in the Bundesliga last season, while Tammy Abraham (3.6 shots per 90 in the Premier League), Pulisic (3.3 shots per 90 in the Premier League) and the Chelsea-bound Kai Havertz (2.2 shots per 90 in the Bundesliga) will also want their fair share of opportunities. A key part of Ziyech’s adaptation must be curbing his worst instincts in the final third.

Those include shots like this one against AZ Alkmaar in March, which could have been a conversion in rugby union…

Ziyech-bad-shot-AZ.png

…or this one against Utrecht three days later, which might still be causing Adam Maher nightmares after it caught him full in the face from close range…

Ziyech-bad-shot-Utrecht.png

… or this one against Vitesse Arnhem, in the Dutch Cup in February, with five team-mates ahead of him (and Ajax three up with five minutes left, admittedly)…

Ziyech-bad-shot-Vitesse.png

Lampard, no stranger to taking shots from long distance in his own playing career, will value Ziyech’s aggression in matches against inferior opponents — the kind of fixtures in which Chelsea have too often fallen into the trap of spending 90 minutes passing sideways in recent years.

But it is also easy to picture smart defences at Stamford Bridge daring the 27-year-old to take on low-percentage shots at the expense of his team’s rhythm, so maintaining a healthy balance will be crucial.


Ziyech’s relentless ambition with the ball is a big part of what makes him special.

His 77.4 per cent pass accuracy in the Eredivisie last season would rank him above only Willy Caballero, Olivier Giroud and Abraham in the Chelsea squad, but only Ajax team-mate Klaas-Jan Huntelaar bettered his average of 1.06 direct goal involvements per 90 minutes. His average of 4.18 passes into the penalty area per 90 minutes in the Champions League last season was also higher than any other player in the competition.

The man plays high-risk, high-reward football.

Sometimes that means he forces things a little too much. Here, against Willem II in December, he tries and fails to slide Noa Lang through on goal when there is a much easier progressive passing option in the form of Tagliafico, who is calling for the ball out on the left flank.

Ziyech-bad-pass-Willem-e1599070487150.pn

Willem II fail to clear their lines and Ajax almost immediately work the ball back to the feet of Ziyech. But instead of switching play to the still-open Tagliafico, he ends up shooting wide from 25 yards…

Ziyech-bad-shot-Willem.png

But when Ziyech’s risk-taking does pay off, he can crack a defence open.

Here, against 10-man Groningen last September, he spots Donny van de Beek cutting into the area and lofts a pass towards him…

Ziyech-pass-Groningen-1.png

…Van de Beek meets the dropping ball with a brilliant first-time cross, and Huntelaar has a tap-in.

Ziyech-bad-pass-Groningen-2.png

In many ways, Ziyech is a throwback of a playmaker, wired to forego the efficient option in search of the exceptional one. But he isn’t a tactical luxury; he is more than willing to work hard to be part of a collective press and win the ball back in good positions for his team.

Real Madrid found this out to their cost in Ajax’s unforgettable 4-1 win at the Bernabeu in a March 2019 Champions League last-16 decider. Sergio Reguilon dallies on the ball in the holders’ left-back spot and Ziyech dispossesses him…

Ziyech-Madrid-goal-1.png

…he slides through Dusan Tadic and continues his run into the box, meeting the Serb’s return pass with a clinical one-touch finish into the far corner.

Ziyech-Madrid-goal-2.png

Here, with AZ Alkmaar leading at the Amsterdam Arena with 20 minutes to go in March, Ziyech gives chase as Dani de Wit attempts to lead a counter-attack…

Ziyech-recovery-AZ-1.png

Ziyech’s pressure is effective and, while he doesn’t win the ball, he ultimately forces De Wit to turn and play it backwards.

Ziyech-recovery-AZ-2.png

There’s every reason to think Ziyech will be a big asset to Chelsea this season — particularly in matches where they are challenged to break down deep-lying opponents — without being a defensive liability.


One of the big questions for Lampard to answer is how Ziyech can best co-exist with fellow new boy Havertz, another elite left-footed shot creator who often likes to drift towards the right flank. There is a similar overlap on the left, where Pulisic marked himself out as Chelsea’s most dangerous attacking player for long stretches of last season and where Werner was often given the freedom to roam by Julian Nagelsmann for RB Leipzig.

A key part of the answer will likely be to encourage considerable fluidity in Chelsea’s attack, with Ziyech and Havertz swapping positions as they combine on the right and Pulisic and Werner doing something similar on the other side of the pitch. The starting structure should be open to interpretation depending on the opponents and game situation, and Lampard will expect the elite scorers and creators he now has at his disposal to figure out some of these things for themselves.

Ziyech is very capable of being a threat anywhere across the creative line. Here he is in last season’s 6-1 thumping of ADO Den Haag, supplying a more conventional cross from the left to meet Van de Beek’s smart run.

Ziyech-assist-ADO-1.png

Van de Beek’s first-time finish into the bottom corner is brilliant, but it’s only possible because of the quality of the delivery.

Ziyech-assist-ADO-2.png

Here he is in a central area against Tottenham Hotspur in the first leg of that epic Champions League semi-final in 2018-19, rattling a pass between Jan Vertonghen and Danny Rose to the feet of Van de Beek.

Ziyech-assist-Spurs-1.png

Van de Beek controls it perfectly, beats Hugo Lloris with a clever feint, then finds the bottom corner.

Ziyech-assist-Spurs-2.png

And here, finally, is Ziyech in a much deeper position against Benfica in November 2018, floating a 40-yard pass over the defence and perfectly into the path of Tadic, who ultimately bundles the ball into the net.

Ziyech-assist-Benfica.png

They didn’t call Ziyech “The Wizard of Amsterdam” at Ajax for nothing.

He should bring a significant goal threat and a swaggering creativity to Chelsea, producing plenty of moments to savour along the way.

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Ziyech is the absolute antithesis to Willian who would always hang on to the ball and then always choose the wrong or least risky option.

ziyech always takes risk and let’s go if the ball mich quicker and as a co sequence creates way more output. Havertz is similar but can keep hold of the ball quite well and also has considerably more raw end speed . 
we will be an absolute turnover machine but only in the final third with Ziyech, puli and Werner taking chances but in midfield Kanté, kovacic, Kai are all elite carriers of the ball. If Lamps can get the balance right we can be a devastating force. If not we will look super disjointed. But even then we should have the individual quality to get over the line vs low quality opposition

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10 hours ago, Vesper said:

They didn’t call Ziyech “The Wizard of Amsterdam” at Ajax for nothing.

He should bring a significant goal threat and a swaggering creativity to Chelsea, producing plenty of moments to savour along the way.

The more I think about the fact that next season we have Ziyech and possibly Havetz start behind the striker , the 2 creators: Ziyech spot on with his crosses while Havetz can pass in between lines ... should Lampard start with Werner and Giroud instead of Pulisic & Werner ... move Werner to the left while Giroud as the striker. Werner gives the mobility in the left flanks while Giroud with his ariael presence & hold up play. Though it would be a crime to not include Pulisic who has being dangerous enough from the left side ... it is going to be an interesting call.  

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3 hours ago, coolhead23 said:

The more I think about the fact that next season we have Ziyech and possibly Havetz start behind the striker , the 2 creators: Ziyech spot on with his crosses while Havetz can pass in between lines ... should Lampard start with Werner and Giroud instead of Pulisic & Werner ... move Werner to the left while Giroud as the striker. Werner gives the mobility in the left flanks while Giroud with his ariael presence & hold up play. Though it would be a crime to not include Pulisic who has being dangerous enough from the left side ... it is going to be an interesting call.  

Giroud with 29 PL goals. You heard it here first😄

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