Hakim Ziyech will be given a chance to impress new head Thomas Tuchel in Thursday’s FA Cup fifth round tie at Barnsley with the German hoping to see the best of the mercurial Moroccan.
Ziyech played 83 minutes in Tuchel’s debut in the Chelsea dugout, against Wolves on January 27, but hasn’t played a minute since with fears that he may not fully fit the Blues boss’ 3-4-2-1 system.
The 27-year-old enjoyed a fine start to the season under Frank Lampard but has been hampered with injuries ever since, making his transition into English football that much harder with Ziyech telling Dutch network Ziggo Sport this week that it’s been an “annoying” time for him.
Tuchel admits he’s likely to make wholesale changes to his starting XI for the trip to Oakwell to play Championship Barnsley and it will be interesting to see exactly how he deploys Ziyech or if he tweaks his system at all.
“Hopefully tomorrow we see the best of him,” Tuchel told a press conference. “Tomorrow we hope he shows the same quality and determination in training.
“We play every competition to win. So every round in a cup competition is the most important round. It’s an elimination game so we have to be totally focused and on point tomorrow when the match starts.
“There is a high possibility we will make a lot of changes. Everybody who deserves to be on the pitch hasn’t been on the pitch so far. So it’s a moment to have fresh legs and fresh minds on the pitch.”
Thursday night’s clash should also give Billy Gilmour and Tino Anjorin a chance to impress Tuchel, while Kepa could also come into contention in goal. Tuchel has confirmed that N’Golo Kante will start in midfield.