Ziyech ready for Chelsea debut against Southampton

Hakim Ziyech

(Reuters) – New signing Hakim Ziyech will make his Chelsea debut when they play Southampton in the Premier League on Saturday, manager Frank Lampard said as he looks to put the finishing touches to his new-look forward line.

Ziyech, who arrived at Stamford Bridge from Ajax Amsterdam in the close season, has recovered from a knee injury that ruled him out of the start of the campaign.

Lampard is hoping Ziyech’s playmaking ability could bring the best out of fellow new recruits Timo Werner and Kai Havertz, while Christian Pulisic is set to offer much-needed balance on the wing after recovering from his hamstring injury.

“Hakim Ziyech is in the squad. He’s not fit to start but is fit enough to participate in some way, we hope,” Lampard told a news conference on Friday.

“It feels like a long time since we brought him here, and he hasn’t played since the Dutch league finished before lockdown.

“We’re looking to build relationships all over the pitch. Those things can only be worked on. There are teams that have shown how long it takes to be a top team. We’re at the start of that journey.”

When asked if he could find a system that could work for all his attacking options, Lampard said: “Any team that wants to compete needs more than one player per position. We’ve brought in players of high quality, so of course you want to improve.”

Lampard will be without his new goalkeeper Edouard Mendy, who picked up a thigh injury while away with Senegal. Brazil defender Thiago Silva will also miss out after his long-haul trip to Peru for his national side this week.

Chelsea are hoping to make it back-to-back wins in the league when they face Southampton following the 4-0 victory over Crystal Palace before the international break.

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