Hakim Ziyech is the next person to feature in our player-by-player season reviews, after a campaign in which he overcame injury disruptions to play an important part in his first year with Chelsea.
Hakim Ziyech had a difficult first season with Chelsea, as injury and the strong competition for places in attacking areas prevented him from cementing a regular place in the starting line-up for long periods, but he still had a big impact on our campaign.
The Moroccan international developed a habit of popping up at important moments in big games, scoring some vital goals and playing a large role in our run to the FA Cup final.
It was far from an ideal beginning for Ziyech in England, as he picked up a knee injury in our pre-season friendly at Brighton which ruled him out of our first six competitive fixtures of the season.
Once he had recovered, he made a bright opening with the Blues, though. He found the net on his first start for the club, in a 4-0 Champions League win over Krasnodar, and followed it up with a goal and assist on his full Premier League debut as we beat Burnley 3-0.
When he set up another two in a 4-1 victory over Sheffield United, it took his tally to an impressive two goals and three assists from his first four starts in a Chelsea shirt, with a 100 per cent win rate.
However, he was cruelly stripped of that momentum by another injury, suffered in the 3-1 Premier League win over Leeds United at the start of December. At that point we had lost just once all season, but would then lose three of our six matches during Ziyech’s month-long absence, only winning one.
Easing back in
He returned in January for a brief run in the team, including Thomas Tuchel’s first match as Chelsea head coach, but it would take him some time to fully return to form and secure a regular spot in the line-up.
‘He scored some important goals for us in the Champions League, and another important goal which got us to the cup final. He had a difficult season with injuries, but he came up trumps for us and played very well.’
— Ben Chilwell
He did feature in every round of the FA Cup, though, creating a goal for Callum Hudson-Odoi in our comfortable third-round win over Morecambe and finding the net himself as we defeated Sheffield United in the quarter-finals.
From March onwards, Ziyech was to play a bigger role for Tuchel, enjoying his most consistent spell with Chelsea after seeming to put his injury problems behind him, allowing him to make his presence felt in some key games.
The most significant of those were two matches against Manchester City, who must have been sick of the sight of the player by the end of the season. First he turned in Timo Werner’s ball across the box to score the only goal of our FA Cup semi-final win, to book our place at Wembley, although the defeat to Leicester in the final would be our only loss of the season with Ziyech in the starting line-up.
Just as importantly, the Moroccan then netted our second-half equaliser against City in the Premier League, before Marcos Alonso’s late winner, in a result which proved vital to securing our top-four finish.
Hakim Ziyech 2020/21 Chelsea stats
Unused sub: 7
Minutes played: 2,007
Hakim Ziyech Premier League appearances 2020/21
Hakim Ziyech played 23 games in the Premier League for Chelsea this season, coming off the bench for eight of them.
Hakim Ziyech Champions League appearances 2020/21
Hakim Ziyech made 10 appearances in the Champions League this season, three from the start.
Hakim Ziyech FA Cup appearances 2020/21
Hakim Ziyech played six games in the FA Cup this season, one of them from the bench.
Hakim Ziyech Carabao Cup appearances 2020/21
Hakim Ziyech did not make any appearances in the Carabao Cup this season.
Hakim Ziyech goals 2020/21
Hakim Ziyech scored six goals for Chelsea in 2020/21, two each in the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup.