How Hakim Ziyech’s Statistics Compare To Europe’s Elite

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Hakim Ziyech (Getty Images)

Chelsea may not have made any signings in January, but it hasn’t taken them long to signal their intent for this coming summer with a real statement signing.

Yes, just 13 days after the winter window shut, a deal is done – and confirmed – for Ajax playmaker Hakim Ziyech to move over to Stamford Bridge, in a deal initially worth £33.36m.

The fee alone represents, on the face of it, incredible business from the Blues, and will go a long way to appeasing any frustrations that head coach Frank Lampard may have had over the club’s inability to bring in new recruits last month.

Edson Alvarez,Hakim Ziyech

Now we’ve all heard how good Ziyech is meant to be, but there’s an awful lot of us – Chelsea fans included – who aren’t overly familiar with how well he’s been doing for Ajax, both domestically and in Europe.

The good news is Blues fans, you can rest easy – you’re getting a supremely talented player who has racked up numbers in Amsterdam that stack up with some of the most creative players around Europe.

In order to give you some perspective, 90min has done some statistical digging on Ziyech, courtesy of ​WhoScored​, comparing him to Nicolas Pepe and Riyad Mahrez, left-footed players who also drift in from the right-hand side, and big-name duo Christian Eriksen and Bruno Fernandes, who have been the talk of the Premier League town in recent months.

Let’s dig in…

2018/19 Stats

Player/MetricsHakim ZiyechNicolas PepeChristian EriksenRiyad MahrezBruno Fernandes
Minutes Played3,3983,3322,7721,3382,942
Short Pass Accuracy (%)*75.479.883.685.578.1
Long Pass Accuracy (%)*43.1705073.656.5
Dribbles Attempted*6.34.91.22.71.5
Dribble Success (%)*55.555.15059.261.1
Assists (Entire Season)131112413

The statistics above show how each of the five fared in their respective domestic leagues during 2018/19, and it’s evident that Ziyech stands out when it comes to the final third.

His general pass success rate is decent, given the amount of football he played over the course of the season, but it’s his eye for goal and willingness to run with the ball that stands out most. 

But Ziyech isn’t selfish with the ball, evidenced by the number of assists he contributed in last season’s Eredivisie. Only Bruno Fernandes – now of Manchester United fame – can match him on that front, but it’s clear that he prefers to distribute to others, rather than taking people on.

2019/20 Stats

Player/MetricsHakim ZiyechNicolas PepeChristian EriksenRiyad MahrezBruno Fernandes
Minutes Played1,4241,3451,0921,2651,530
Short Pass Accuracy (%)*80.677.782.589.681.1
Long Pass Accuracy (%)*62.858.353.58051.8
Dribbles Attempted*5.77.00.24.32.6
Dribble Success (%)*54.358.5060.469.2
Assists (Entire Season)123277

This season, Ziyech has been outstanding – with an improvement in his passing accuracy, both short and long, helping him contribute 12 assists to Ajax’s cause. A reduction in the number of dribbles he has attempted suggests that he’s been working hard with head coach Erik ten Hag to vary his game, and clearly the changes are paying off.

​Riyad Mahrez may be the most consistent passer of the ball over the past 18 months, but there’s no questioning that Ziyech – given the statistical evidence – has more of an overall impact at Ajax, and is definitely viewed as the ‘go-to’ man in attack.

2018/19 Stats

Player/MetricsHakim ZiyechNicolas PepeChristian EriksenRiyad MahrezBruno Fernandes
Shots on Goal*5.73.22.73.63.7
Shots Outside the Box (%)*63.140.670.330.562.1
Goals Scored (Entire Season)16228720
Goals Scored (Weak Foot)41323

While ​Chelsea is likely to benefit from Ziyech’s playmaking skills, it’s his desire and appetite to score goals that may set him aside from the other options that Frank Lampard has at his disposal.

Last season, Ziyech averaged just under six shots per game, most of those being taken from long distance. 63% of those efforts were taken from outside the box, indicating his confidence in his own ability.

16 goals is a very healthy return for a player who occasionally operated in a deeper role, with 25% of those being scored with his weaker foot. No other player matched that feat, but Pepe – largely thanks to penalties – and Fernandes did outscore him over the course of their 2018/19 campaign.

Ziyech has also demonstrated his goalscoring prowess on the European stage, netting a pearler against Tottenham in their infamous Champions League semi-final clash last season.

2019/20 Stats

Player/MetricsHakim ZiyechNicolas PepeChristian EriksenRiyad MahrezBruno Fernandes
Shots on Goal*5.42.52.13.53.5
Shots Outside the Box (%)*64.84485.734.268.5
Goals Scored (Entire Season)63278
Goals Scored (Weak Foot)00111

Ziyech’s improved passing statistics not only show that it’s an area of his game that he’s worked on, but they also demonstrate that he’s adaptable to change.

That’s evidenced by his shooting statistics, which have dropped when it comes to the number of efforts he’s had on goal. Ziyech has scored just six times, but crucially his accuracy from distance hasn’t wavered.

Still, that goal return puts him in pretty good company among his peers; only Mahrez and Fernandes, prior to his move to Manchester United, have scored more.

The argument you’re most likely to hear from rival fans is that Ziyech looks good on paper because of the standard of the league he’s playing in.

While that may be true to a degree – the Eredivisie is clearly a level below the Premier League – it’s hard to argue against Ziyech’s consistency at Ajax. Since debuting for the club in September 2016, he’s created 421 goalscoring chances for De Godenzonen – 134 more than any other player in that time – and has been involved in a league-high 89 goals, comprising of 38 goals and 51 assists.

Those numbers, in just four years, are remarkable to say the least – so playing with Ziyech, you’d imagine, can only be good for the continued developments of Mason Mount, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Christian Pulisic.

The one problem Chelsea have is that they will have to wait until 1st July for him to arrive. 

See you then, Hakim.

See Also: Three Interesting Facts About Chelsea’s New Signing Hakim Ziyech

source: 90min

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