24 Jan 2022 | 14:02
When Chelsea agreed to pay £38m to sign Hakim Ziyech from Ajax in the winter of 2020, many thought the Blues got a bargain. However, Ziyech’s first 18 months at Stamford Bridge were disappointing.
He entered the match against Tottenham with only 4 goals and 5 assists in a Chelsea shirt, even when Ziyech scored a beautiful goal against Brighton in the middle of the week, the reaction was superficial from the blue shirt players as well. has raised questions about the Chelsea dressing room. But against Spurs, Ziyech produced a moment of the same quality as when he was at Ajax, and that could be the catalyst for Ziyech to finally shine for the London side.
Spurs go into the game without losing a Premier League game since Antonio Conte came to power in November, while Chelsea have not won their last four, leaving them out of the title race and facing a challenge for position in the top 4.
The first half was goalless with Chelsea dominated for the most part but narrowly trailed when Harry Kane’s goal was denied. After the break, Ziyech wasted little time showing his magic as he pulled in a shot from about 20 yards that sent the ball past Hugo Lloris and into the top corner of the goal. Ziyech told Sky Sports after the game: “How good was that goal? I think it’s a 10 out of 10!”
Remarkably, it was Ziyech’s first goal at Stamford Bridge, and the way he scored it was exceptional. Ajax fans are used to him creating such moments, and Chelsea fans will be hoping for the same after his slow start in London.
More interestingly, it seems that Ajax provided Ziyech with inspiration to create his super product. Hours before kick-off in London, Ajax were celebrating their own victory, as Noussair Mazraoui made a cut in the same position as Ziyech to seal a 2-1 win over PSV. Mazraoui revealed that Ziyech watched the match and sent him a Whatsapp message, joking that Mazraoui’s goal was “a terrible goal”.
Whether or not Ziyech’s goal was inspired by Ajax, his overall performance was that of a player finding confidence again. Ziyech left the field to applause as he was substituted in the final minutes due to a cramp. The midfielder not only contributed in attack, but he also worked hard to pressurize and win the ball back as Chelsea kept a clean sheet for the first time in the Premier League in seven games. Chelsea fans will be hoping Ziyech can continue to use his magic throughout the second half of the season for the Blues to have another successful year.