The former Blues winger has been hugely impressed with the impact the Moroccan has had in the early stages of his Stamford Bridge career
Pat Nevin has acknowledged that Hakim Ziyech is “an even better player than I thought he was” while describing the Chelsea new boy as “top class”.
Ziyech has settled into his new surroundings at Stamford Bridge quicker than expected following his €40 million (£36m/$47m) move from Ajax earlier this year.
The 27-year-old missed the start of the season with a knee injury, but was handed his first start for the Blues in a Champions League clash with Krasnodar last week.
He produced a lively performance on the right of a front three and also got his name on the scoresheet in a 4-0 victory over the Russian outfit, impressing Frank Lampard enough to trust him in the starting XI for a meeting with Burnley on Sunday.
Ziyech found the back of the net again at Turf Moor, rifling a low shot past Nick Pope in the Clarets’ net to open the scoring, and also recorded an assist as Chelsea ran out comfortable 3-0 winners.
Nevin has been pleasantly surprised by the winger’s exceptional work rate and composure on the ball, with it his belief that the ex-Ajax star has added a whole new dimension to Lampard’s side in the final third of the pitch.
“The one thing over the past week that has knocked me out has been the performance of Hakim Ziyech,” the former Blues star told the club’s official website.
“In two games he has proved to be an even better player than I thought he was, and I thought he was very good anyway.
“That ability to see crucial through balls and be able to play them at the right time and the right pace in between packed defences is something we really needed to add to our arsenal.
“His pass to Timo Werner for the third goal was an overlooked moment of genius. Anyone from Kevin De Bruyne to Cesc Fabregas would have been proud of that assist.
“It wasn’t his only moment of fabulous vision. The two goals in two games had the look of a natural finisher about them. He doesn’t panic when he is in the box, he is in total control of the situation, a sure sign of a very good player.
“The creativity is a given then, but most Chelsea fans and definitely the gaffer will have noticed his work-rate, too. His closing down and efforts to win the ball back high up the field were top class.
“Again I will be honest and admit that I wasn’t expecting that level of work-rate, but it looks very much like the right team spirit is in his make-up and it is not just the early efforts of a new player trying to impress.”
Nevin also reserved praise for another of Chelsea’s summer signings, Thiago Silva, who he believes has helped raise the level of Kurt Zouma since coming into partner the Frenchman in the heart of the defence.
“Attention is just as likely to focus on the centre-backs, and surely by now every Chelsea fan has figured out just how special, calm and talented Thiago Silva is,” he added.
“It is a pleasure to watch him every week and he is certainly having a huge effect on the form of Kurt Zouma; the big man has even decided to go on a scoring spree to add to his dominant displays at the back.
“Three goals in six Premier League games would be a good average for most strikers.”