Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner’s hidden influence in Chelsea win over Aston Villa

Former Liverpool midfielder Danny Murphy has hailed the signings of Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner as a factor in Chelsea’s approach to the return of the Premier League.

The Blues have already agreed deals for the Ajax playmaker and RB Leipzig forward who will link up with Frank Lampard and his squad later this year.

More big money signings could still follow with Ben Chilwell, Kai Havertz and Jadon Sancho all having been linked with the west London club in recent weeks.

In his side’s first competitive fixture since the resumption of the Premier League schedule, Lampard selected a line up that featured a number of players with question marks over their roles in the future of the squad, including Olivier Giroud, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Willian.

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Despite falling behind, the Blues came back to beat Aston Villa 2-1 ahead of a mid-week meeting with Manchester City that should test their qualities as a potential title contender in 2021.

Speaking as a pundit on Match of the Day 2, Murphy claimed that the attitude in the Chelsea dressing room may have shifted thanks to the increased competition that is to follow once Werner and Ziyech arrive at Cobham ahead of next season.

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“I think the signings give a kick up the backside to those players who thought they were in a comfortable position. ‘I’ve got to kick on, I’ve got to show the manager I’m worth a place in this team’.”

However, that will not be the only motivating factor. When the Premier League was paused, Chelsea were sitting in fourth place in the table, with the race for the Champions League qualification slots still to be decided.

Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur will be seeking to pounce on any opportunity to replace the Blues in the top four.

“The other goal is to play Champions League football,” said Murphy. “If you’re in that…