Thomas Tuchel is getting the best of Hakim Ziyech, two years on from signing are we finally seeing his breakthrough at Chelsea?

Hakim Ziyech is on fire right now. Since the turn of the calendar year, he’s scored in four of the eight games he’s played in, including the deciding goal in today’s game against Crystal Palace via solid volley shot. And don’t forget the stunning goal against Tottenham that could have won him goal of the month. He has a vicious curve and wizardly ball skills.

His recent performance is especially impressive for a man who hasn’t regularly started for Chelsea. He plays in a highly competitive position, going up against the likes of Mason Mount, Hudson-Odoi, Kai Havertz and many others. Zieych has started in just 10 Premier League games and played in only 13.

Yet his noteworthy form could land him a starting spot in upcoming matches, as we’ve been seeing in the last few lineups. He has shown his ability to be clutch when it’s most needed – scoring the only goal in the Champions’ League group stage match against Malmö and coming off the bench to score a winner against Watford, just to name a few.

Hakim Ziyech is going through his best spell as a Chelsea player. Edit by @morganrdesign
Hakim Ziyech is going through his best spell as a Chelsea player. Edit by @morganrdesign

When Ziyech feels hot, he feels red hot. He had seven shots, six on target against Chesterfield in the FA Cup. Scored a goal. Five shots, four on target against Tottenham. Scored a goal. Plus, this sequence of good performances comes at a time when Chelsea are struggling to find a consistent goal-scoring threat.

However, when Ziyech isn’t hot, that’s a different story. In his previous game against Plymouth Argyle in the fourth round of the FA Cup, the man took eight shots, but only two were on target. He walked away with no goals. In the games he doesn’t score, he takes lots of shots, but none are particularly threatening.

Plus, his passing completion percentage is rather lackluster, usually finding himself between 60% and 75% completion each game. Meanwhile, Mount and Hudson-Odoi usually complete roughly 80% of their passes, rarely dipping below 70%. 

During the Tottenham game, Mount and Hudson-Odoi both attempted about 40 passes and both completed about 35. Zieych on the other hand attempted 71 and made 44. He attempted and completed more than the others but also failed to complete significantly more.

Similar to his shot-taking ability, Zieych likes to try his luck, but it doesn’t always work out for him. Although they take less shots and attempt less passes than Zieych, his competition is typically more consistent. While he has impressed many of the fans as of late, he isn’t without his mistakes.

Not to mention the drama between him and the Moroccan National Team manager Vahid Halihodžić. Despite being the one of the side’s top players, he was left out of the AFCON roster due to a fallout between him and the manager.

“His behavior in the last two matches, especially the last one, was not that of a national team player who as a leader in the team has to be positive role model,”

Halihodžić in a press conference in September following a friendly match against Ghana.

Halihodžić reported him showing up late to practices and refusing to play due to injury, despite being cleared by doctors. But his national team disputes aren’t what we’re considering here.

Outside of Zieych’s national team arguments, he seems very happy back at his club. Photos circulating social media show him smiling and working hard, so it seems that the drama hasn’t seeped into Chelsea’s locker room at all.

Zieych is known for his flashy moves and clutch performances off the bench, and isn’t a typical starter. But Chelsea are struggling for good form at the moment, and Zieych has had a convincing 2022 so far. Could we continue to see him starting as the campaign progresses, or will his hot streak die out as he struggles to find consistency?

Written by Christopher Butler (@Chr1sButler)

Edited by Tom Coley (@tomcoley49)

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