Chelsea have had some brilliant creative players over the years, but since Juan Mata left for Manchester United, only Cesc Fabregas has been able to lay on assists at a world class rate.
Fabregas eventually slowed down and moved on, and since then it’s been a struggle to find a consistent creator from outside the final third.
The early evidence is that in Hakim Ziyech, we may have found that man.
He’s made just two starts in competitive games, but FBRef show the kind of impact he’s making.
He’s got 0.34 “expected” assists per 90 minutes, meaning he’s generating good enough chances to get more than one assist every third game. The second ranked player in the squad is Jorginho with 0.18 – roughly half Ziyech’s figure.
Those are ridiculous numbers, and unsustainable long term – but even if it declines it still leaves him miles ahead of his teammates. Kai Havertz has a score of just 0.09, Mason Mount 0.13, CHO 0.12.
They are all great players, but none of them can pass it like Ziyech.
We will revisit this later in the season and see just how many assists the magician has.