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Hakim Ziyech delivers again for Chelsea as international break arrives at the wrong time

The Blues forward has scored two decisive goals in his last two games but will now jet off for international duty for a couple of weeks

Having scored twice in two games to seal progress in two cup competitions, Hakim Ziyech has belatedly hit some form for Chelsea under Thomas Tuchel.

The Morocco international will join up with his international teammates next week for Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Mauritania and Burundi. Should Ziyech and his teammates see off Mauritania next Friday then their spot in the AFCON tournament next year in Cameroon will be secured.

In terms of his club form however, the international break may not have come at the right time for Ziyech after one of his best week’s in recent memory and certainly since Tuchel replaced Frank Lampard in charge.

The 28-year-old netted the opening and decisive goal in the Champions League in midweek as Chelsea made it through to the quarter finals of the competition for the first time since 2014, seeing off Atletico Madrid 3-0 on aggregate.

Ziyech was then on hand to help Chelsea to a 2-0 win over Sheffield United as he netted in injury time with Blues very much rattled by the rock-bottom Premier League side but a place at Wembley in the last four was secured.

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The winger was rushed back by Frank Lampard for the home loss to Manchester City when the wheels really started to come off for the former manager. It was one of five losses in eight games that would cost him his job.

Early signs had been good for Ziyech as well, despite having to wait far longer than he anticipated to make his Blues debut following the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent shutdown of football.

A goal and three assists in late October.early November had looked to have showcased Ziyech as Chelsea’s creative force for a side that was gunning for a Premier League title.

But an injury to his hip in early December, coupled with Lampard throwing him back into action way too quickly, hampered Ziyech. He struggled upon his return and then when Tuchel took over as well.

Having started Tuchel’s first game in charge, the 0-0 draw with Wolves, Ziyech was not in the squad for the win over Burnley and then was an unused substitute for the following three matches. He made a surprise return against Manchester United but has gone from strength to strength.

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Tuchel has used Ziyech as more of a number ten than an out and out winger like Lampard did. Ziyech has reaped the benefit as it has allowed him to be more creative.

It has been his goalscoring in the last couple of games that has proved decisive for Chelsea, not his assist making or creating chances. He looks to be over his hip issue that hampered him for so long.

Wth Kai Havertz also finding some form as well, two of Lampard’s summer signings are starting to hit their stride. Now Timo Werner just needs to do the same and the German head coach will have plenty to be happy about after the international break and heading into the Premier League run-in.

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