Chelsea playmaker Hakim Ziyech has not exactly had an easy ride since joining the club, often finding himself outside the starting line-up and struggling for consistent form at the west London club.
However, at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, with Morocco, Ziyech has been a driving force behind a monumental campaign that saw the African nation beat Croatia and Belgium in the group phase to top spot.
Then, in the round-of-16, Morocco put in a dogged display to defeat Spain on penalties, earning a spot in the quarter-finals.
His nation will face Portugal next, avoiding what would have been their hardest fixture yet in the form of Thiago Silva’s Brazil, with Chelsea’s central defender also shining on the grandest stages this autumn with some exemplary displays at the back.
Scoring a goal and assist apiece, while recording 1.5 shots per match, Ziyech has been an offensive thorn in the sides of his opponents and would be a match even for Silva in current form. Sparkling at the top end of the pitch, he is also contributing effectively from a defensive standpoint with an average of 2.0 tackles and 1.3 interceptions per outing.
After such resounding success, Blues boss Graham Potter must be itching to bring the star back to Stamford Bridge and transcend his dazzling form to his efforts in the Premier League.
Chelsea’s 17 goals in 14 matches thus far in the league season is the lowest tally of any side in the top-half, and Ziyech must be utilised in order to unearth a vein of prolific form that has been evading the Blues.
Former Chelsea boss Frank Lampard once heralded the Moroccan magician as “an absolute dream”, and indeed that’s what he has been in Qatar. The self-belief and flair on the ball that he’s shown in the Middle East of late were contributing factors behind the rise to ascension at former club AFC Ajax that resulted in a £33m move to Stamford Bridge.
As per FBref, the 47-cap star ranks within the top 9% for total shots, and 15% for progressive passes when compared to attacking midfielders and wingers throughout Europe’s top five leagues across the last year.
He is evidently a player that can provide artillery from varying angles, capable of destructive power and the wand of a delivery to unlock even the meanest of defences.
Morocco next face Portugal, with the agonisingly tantalising prospect of a semi-final showdown looming around the corner, Ziyech will be solely focused on completing the unimaginable and bringing his country unprecedented triumph.
Such feats will have not gone unnoticed by Potter, however, who indeed will be pondering just how he can maintain the form that Ziyech is currently riding at club level.