Chelsea Hope to Have Hakim Ziyech Back for Man City Clash

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Hakim Ziyech left early due to a hamstring injury in Chelsea’s win over Leeds United on Dec. 5 and hasn’t played since. The Blues, who had been on a massive unbeaten streak around that time, have now only won one of their last five Premier League games.

Following a 1-1 draw with Aston Villa on Monday night, Chelsea are now plodding along in sixth place, with all but one of the teams ahead of them having at least one game in hand on the Blues. Two of the five actually have two matches in hand on Chelsea.

hakim ziyech

The next opponent on the schedule is Manchester City, who are slated to come in on Sunday January 3. Frank Lampard hopes to have Ziyech ready by then.

“I think with Hakim, the way he was playing, he was being very effective for us in terms of assists, goal creation, chance creation and some goals,” Lampard said.

“We were very fluid at the time. You’re going to miss players at that level when they drop out and we want him back.”

There is a larger question looming over whether or not Hakim Ziyech might feature, and the issue goes beyond his level of fitness. Manchester City’s game against Everton on Monday was called off due to a new COVID-19 outbreak at City.

Both Kyle Walker and Gabriel Jesus were isolation after testing positive for the virus. The statement from MCFC read:

After the latest round of Covid-19 testing, the club returned a number of positive cases, in addition to the four already reported on Christmas Day. With the security of the bubble compromised, there posed a risk that the virus could spread further amongst the squad, the staff and potentially beyond.

Based on strong medical advice the Premier League, in consultation with both clubs, have decided to postpone the fixture.

Given this situation, the status of Sunday’s fixture is definitely questionable. Tuesday also brought news of an outbreak at Sheffield United, so that is another developing situation to keep on an eye on. Last week brought the revelation of a new and more contagious mutation of the virus, and that this specific strain was first identified in the United Kingdom.

In other words, don’t be surprised if we see a few more covid cancellations.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank, partnered with News NowBanks, the author of  “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” has regularly appeared in WGNSports IllustratedChicago Tribune and SB NationFollow him on Twitter and Instagram.

 

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