Chelsea cruised to a 4-1 win over a struggling Sheffield United side on Saturday evening, with summer signing Hakim Ziyech pulling the strings for his new side.
After last season’s impressive campaign, Sheffield United have looked to be suffering from second-season syndrome in the early stages of this fledgeling Premier League campaign, picking up just one point to date. However, they bagged themselves an early lead through a well-worked corner as George Baldock drilled in a low ball to Sander Berge, whose effort was turned home by former Ireland international David McGoldrick.
Chelsea unsurprisingly dominated though, and they were back level midway through the first half. The influential Ziyech played the ball in behind the Blades defence down the right channel for Kovacic to run onto, the former Real Madrid man cutting it back to Tammy Abraham whose scuffed shot into the ground beat Aaron Ramsdale to nestle in the back of the net.
11 minutes later, Ziyech was involved again, his wand of a left foot curling the ball towards the back stick to be scruffily bundled over the line by left-back, Ben Chilwell.
Chelsea continued to dominate after the break and would have further extended their lead on a number of occasions if it weren’t for some stoic defending from Chris Wilder’s side.
However, their resistance was broken with 13 minutes left to play, Ziyech putting in an inch-perfect delivery from a wide free-kick, the visitors defence failing to follow the run of veteran defender Thiago Silva who glanced his header home for 3-1.
6 & 2 – No player has created more chances in a Premier League game this season than Hakim Ziyech did this evening against Sheffield United (6 chances created & 2 assists). Superb. pic.twitter.com/8raugCIYS2
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) November 7, 2020
Minutes later and it was almost four, and Ziyech was once again proving to be the lockpicker, the Moroccan playing another delicious ball over the top for the onrushing Timo Werner though the German’s attempted lob over Ramsdale drifted agonisingly wide.
However, Werner would find the net minutes later, latching onto a loose ball and this time making no mistake as he blasted past the Sheffield Utd stopper.
Speaking afterwards, man of the match Ziyech admitted his side initially struggled to deal with Sheffield United at times, and were surprised by their short corner routine for the opener.
“I think we played a good game,” he told Sky Sports. “The first 10 minutes was difficult – we started a bit sloppy but after 1-0 we could control the game and couldn’t score more goals at that point but we played a good game.
“They come in with power on corners – you think they’ll put it in the box – but they took it short and scored for 1-0 but after that we did well and created a lot of chances and scored a lot of goals.”
Speaking about his involvement for Chelsea’s equaliser, the former Ajax playmaker revealed how he is already getting onto his teammate’s wavelength despite his limited involvement so far.
Chelsea’s 🆕 signings:
— Premier League India (@PLforIndia) November 7, 2020
“They like when you play the ball to your feet and I saw Mateo Kovacic running into space – sometimes you have to get those balls then they don’t know what to do and then the first time we did that, we scored.
“I always look at my team mate before I take the ball, we understand, only eye contact is enough for us.”
The 27-year-old was making just his seventh appearance for Chelsea after starting the season with an injury, though has seamlessly adapted to life in the Premier League.
“I feel comfortable here in the team and with the squad and all my team-mates so I think that’s why I feel comfortable here,” he added.
Next up for Chelsea at the other side of the international break is trip to face Newcastle, before their return game against Rennes in the Champions League.