Ziyech’s left boot is like a magic wand as he weaves his spells to see Chelsea thrash Blades 4-1
By Paul Lagan
Chelsea 4 v Sheffield Unite
Hakim Ziyech was in imperious form as he inspired Chelsea to recover from losing an early goal to thrash bottom of the table Sheffield United 4-1 at Stamford Bridge this evening.
The Morocco wide-man’s left foot was like a magical wand and he weaved incredible spells. He didn’t score but he set up goals and created other excellent chances.
Strikes from Tammy Abraham, Ben Chilwell, Thiago Silva and Timo Werner saw off the Yorkshire side after David McGoldrick had given the Blades an early lead.
Chelsea are up to third in the Premier League.
Aaron Ramsdale thwarted Ben Chilwell on five minutes. The left back crashed a fine angled left-footer on target, but the goalkeeper was perfectly positioned at his right post to get his body in the way of the shot.
The visitors responded well and after successive corners, the Blades took a short corner. The ball was arrowed into the box and David McGoldrick deflected the ball home past Edouard Mendy on 10 minutes.
It was Mendy’s first goal he had conceded in the league since his move from French outfit Rennes in the summer.
Tammy Abraham tried a low drive three minutes later from the edge of the Sheffield penalty area, but the effort was weak and didn’t trouble Ramsdale as the Blues sought an instant reply.
Matt Lowe then tried a long-range effort which fell gleefully into the hands of Mendy on 22 minutes.
A minute later and the Blues restored parity. A slow, deliberate build-is saw the ball fed to Mateo Kovacic on the right. He cut the ball back from the byline into the path of Abraham, who thumped the ball into the ground. It arrowed off the grass past a desperate dive from Ramsdale, and into the right corner of his net.
The Blues were unlucky not to take the lead from a Hakim Ziyech free kick on 32 minutes.
Ramsdale could only parry the ball at the far post to Timo Werner. The German international striker met the ball but his left-footer smacked off the underside of the crossbar and zipped away to safety.
Two minutes later and the Blues took their deserved lead. From the resultant short corner, Ziyech whipped in a wonderful cross and Chilwell was at the far post to bounce the ball off his body and into the net.
Chilwell almost scored again with seven minutes of the half remaining, but his half-volley from eight yards out saw Ramsdale tip the ball around the post for a corner.
There were no changes from either side at half-time.
The west Londoners continued the second half as they ended the first, pushing forward. A Ziyech curler was deflected and excellent last-gasp tackling from the Blues prevented Abraham from his second.
A zinger of a dipping 30-yard free kick by Reece James on 65 minute stung the gloves of Ramsdale but the stopper prevented the goal. Kovacic was next up to try his luck, but his low drive inches wide of the right post. It was his last action of the game
Chelsea head coach Frank Lampard made his first change when Kovacic left the pitch on 70 minutes with what looked like a left ankle injury. He was replaced by Jorginho.
The third was always coming and it came from an unlikely source of 77 minutes.
Again an inch-perfect deep cross by Ziyech, almost at the corner flag, was met by an glancing header by centre-back Thiago Silva and the ball dropped into the net.
Werner had the chance a minute later to make it four. Ziyech cut the Blades defence with a wonderful pass- Werner raced clear. He lopped the ball over Ramsdale but the ball dropped inches wide of gol.
But the fourth did come with 10 minutes left on the clock. Werner latched onto another through ball, this time a deflected effort by N’Golo Kante off a defender, and the striker thumped the ball home.
Mason Mount almost made it number five deep into injury time. But his effort was tipped over the crossbar by Ramsdale.
Chelsea: Mendy, Reece, Silva, Zouma, Chilwell, Ziyech, Kante, Mount, Kovacic, Abraham, Werner
Subs: Rudiger, Jorginho, Caballero, Giroud, Hudson-Odoi, Azpilicueta, Emerson
Sheffield United: Ramsdale, Bahamian, Egan, Stevens, Baldock, Berge, Norwood, Lundstram, Lowe, Brewster, McGoldrick
subs: McBurnie, Sharp, Burke, Jagielka, Robinson, Verrips, Osborn
Referee: Jonathan Moss