Struggling Chelsea man bangs hat-trick in pre-season thumping

Hakim Ziyech scored a second-half hat-trick as a strong Chelsea side dismantled Peterborough in a pre-season friendly this afternoon.

The game took place at Chelsea’s Cobham training base as the Blues ran out 6-1 winners with goals from Ziyech, Tammy Abraham, Christian Pulisic, and Armando Broja.

Much like the majority of pre-season friendlies, there were plenty of substitutions and fringe players involved, such as Danny Drinkwater and Baba Rahman.

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Ziyech made the most of his 45 minutes of action by scoring three goals, which will hopefully help him kick on after a difficult debut season in England.

The 28-year-old moved from Ajax to Chelsea for £36 million last summer and missed the first four Premier League matches through injury.

The attacking midfielder came to Stamford Bridge after scoring an impressive 79 and assisting 97 goals in 216 Eredivisie fixtures.

Injuries were a constant theme of his first season at the club, limiting him to only 23 league appearances.

Fitness was a clear issue for the Moroccan as he completed 90 minutes on only one occasion in all competitions last term across 39 appearances.

Ziyech was a constant feature in the FA Cup, however, as his team reached the final, only to lose 1-0 to Leicester City.

Across his 39 appearances, the ex-Ajax man only managed six goals and four assists.

Chelsea fans will be hoping that he can stay injury-free in his second season at the club, and albeit against Championship opposition, he has shown exactly what he is capable of when healthy.

After a year of being able to adapt to life in England, Ziyech will hope that Thomas Tuchel gives him the opportunity to impress and replicate his excellent Ajax form.

There were rumours last month that Tuchel and Ziyech’s relationship had ‘collapsed’ but there have been no solid rumours of the Moroccan being surplus to requirements.

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However, Italian publication Gazzetta dello Sport (via Sport Witness) said that Ziyech is now ‘officially on the transfer list’ and credited AC Milan with interest in the former FC Twente man.

Milan head coach Stefano Pioli is understood to ‘like’ the Chelsea player with the Serie A side confirming the signing of Olivier Giroud from the Blues earlier today.

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