Chelsea’s new signing Hakim Ziyech was the Blues’ best player on Saturday, and was allowed to be so creative going forward because of N’Golo Kante in the middle. That’s the opinion of Alan Shearer.
Ziyech had a superb full debut on Saturday as he scored and grabbed an assist in the Blues’ 3-0 win away at Burnley.
The playmaker, who signed from Ajax this summer, played in a very attack-heavy starting XI at Turf Moor, as Frank Lampard opted to play five attackers.
Ziyech started on the right wing of a forward three, with Kai Havertz, Mason Mount and Kante in the middle of the park.
He was able to unlock the Burnley defence at will, and was rewarded with his first league goal for the club.
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And Shearer believes part of his success was the presence of Kante in the middle of the park.
Speaking to Match of the Day, he explained that having the Frenchman in midfield allowed for Ziyech to roam forward without worrying about losing the ball.
Shearer did, however, also praise the defensive work of Ziyech for having the drive to chase back when he had to.
He said: “He did exceptionally well.
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“He’s had struggles with injuries to get into the team, but he scored in midweek in the Champions League which will have given him great confidence.
“I think he was the best player for Chelsea today.
“He was creating, he was scoring, he was just a constant threat.
“He had to do his little bit defensively as well, and he did that today.
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“He was given a little bit of freedom to go for a roam because he had Kante in there if he lost the ball.
“He was just a constant [threat], full of confidence.”
Lampard was also highly complementary of Ziyech for bringing something “different” to his other attackers.
“I knew the quality, but to see him first-hand at the training ground it was so frustrating that he got injured because I could see it,” he said.
“But his personality, his work rate off the ball – which I think some people might expect a winger with his technical qualities to not have a work ethic for the team – he has that.
“I think you saw that again today. And then that bit of quality, which is something that maybe is a different quality to what we had last year and what we had in the team.
“He brings something different.”
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