As the battle to narrow the gap at the top of the Premier League table continues, Chelsea are starting to see the rise in form of individual players.
With the Blues also in the mix to retain their Champions League title this season, the competition for places can only be a good thing for manager Thomas Tuchel.
Ziyech Showing True Colours
After what has been a somewhat stop-start first chapter of his Chelsea career, Hakim Ziyech appears to be finding the form that made him such an exciting prospect when he signed from Ajax in 2020. Injuries and dips in form have meant consistency has been an issue since his arrival at Stamford Bridge, but the Moroccan international is starting to get back to his best.
Chelsea, who are currently priced at odds of 43/5 in the Champions League odds from Betfair to retain their European crown, will be hoping Ziyech can continue his form going into their next games in the competition against Lille. Many Champions League tips will expect the Blues to challenge, come the business end of the tournament, and Ziyech looks like he could play a role in helping Chelsea reach the final in St Petersburg on May 28th.
The 28-year-old has put his injury woes behind him and now expectations have returned: whenever Ziyech gets the ball, there’s the very real anticipation that he’s going to do something magic with it.
There was certainly interest in him during the January transfer window, with Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich and London rivals Tottenham Hotspur being linked with the attacking midfielder. The interest from Bayern clearly shows that they have also seen the improvement in Ziyech, and the fact Chelsea kept him can only be a positive for Tuchel going forward.
Sarr on The Rise
Another player who looks to be taking his opportunities in the first-team since making his Premier League debut against Brentford is rising star Malang Sarr. The 23-year-old joined from Nice back in 2020 and, after a loan spell in Portugal at Porto, is now challenging for first-team action in West London.
Sarr has been used as cover for injuries, but when he has been called upon the France under-21 international has stood up well to the challenges that have been put in his path. The defender impressed as a left-back in the semi-final second-leg against Spurs, before going on to start the top of the table clash against Man City. While Chelsea lost the encounter 1-0 against the Citizens, Sarr once again held his own in a high-pressure environment.
Again there was interest in Sarr over the January window, with the likes of West Ham, Newcastle, Everton and Leicester City all linked with the defender’s services. Tuchel was not willing to lose Sarr and now it looks like the player has a bright future ahead of him and will put pressure on those stars ahead of him in the pecking order at Chelsea.
Competition for places drives up standards and the rise of the likes of Ziyech and Sarr will come as a welcomed sight as Chelsea continue in the defence of their European crown.