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£33m signing will be key to Chelsea’s success during tough winter run – Opinion

hakim ziyech chelsea

(Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Since their 2-0 defeat against Liverpool at home in September, Chelsea have steadied themselves in the Premier League and are on a good run at the moment. They find themselves fifth in the table, just three points behind leaders Leicester City as we head into the international break.

The Blues spent heavily in the summer with Frank Lampard bringing in as many as eight new players, including the blockbuster club-record signing of Kai Havertz. It may take a while for Lampard to find his best starting line-up and perfect formation for his side, but he will be pleased with what he’s seen so far.

Of all the new signings, one player who has settled well in west London is Hakim Ziyech. The £33m signing from Ajax has impressed in recent games, with his performance against Sheffield United being of the highest quality.

Following his outstanding display against Burnley, he took his game to a whole new level against the Blades, where he provided two assists and could have had a goal to his name as well. The set-piece maestro has had such an influence on the game that many Chelsea fans compared his impact with that of former hero Eden Hazard. So far, Ziyech has scored 2 goals and provided 3 assists in just 4 starts, so it’s no wonder fans are comparing the Moroccan international to Hazard.

While Havertz still hasn’t quite settled yet, Timo Werner is yet to find his very best form that he showed for RB Leipzig, and with Christian Pulisic struggling with injuries, Lampard will be pinning his hopes on Ziyech to deliver when club football resumes after the break.

In fact, Chelsea’s potential title challenge will largely depend on how they fare in the next two months, as the Blues face a gruelling and challenging fixture list over the coming weeks.

After a trip to St James’ Park on November 21st, Chelsea are up against Tottenham, Leeds, Everton, Wolves, West Ham, Arsenal, Aston Villa, Manchester City, and Leicester till mid-January. There aren’t many ‘easy’ games in that run so Chelsea face a pivotal run of fixtures that will define their title hopes.

In between these Premier League games, Chelsea will also continue their Champions League group stage campaign as they look to book their place in the knockout stages of the competition so it’s certainly going to be an important few weeks ahead for Lampard.

If Chelsea can navigate this period and still be in touch at the top of the table then they should be well positioned to make a run for the title during the second half of the season. Given the form Ziyech has been showing, the nimble creative feet of the Moroccan could play a key role in Chelsea’s success during the tough winter run.

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