Hakim Ziyech’s first trip to Stamford Bridge as a Chelsea player does not overshadow concerns for Frank Lampard after Norwich victory… as Blues boss hits 50 games in charge
- Chelsea beat Norwich 1-0 on Tuesday night to maintain their top-four push
- New £38m signing Hakim Ziyech was in the stands to watch his new team-mates
- But the performance showed that Frank Lampard still has questions to answer
- Norwich playmaker Todd Cantwell, meanwhile, is a shadow of his former self
Among the covered seats and concealed faces, a lonely pair of eyes soaking up new surroundings.
As Chelsea took a giant leap towards the Champions League, Hakim Ziyech took his first steps around a new home.
This was a first chance to watch his new team-mates at Stamford Bridge since November, when the winger’s starring role in a 4-4 draw with Ajax helped persuade Chelsea he was worth £38million.
Hakim Ziyech was at Stamford Bridge for the first time as a Chelsea player on Tuesday night
Olivier Giroud scored Chelsea’s winner in first-half stoppage-time against Norwich City
On Tuesday night, jewellery glinted from around Ziyech’s neck and the hope for Frank Lampard is that he will soon sparkle in blue, too.
On the manager’s 50th game in charge, it was a timely reminder of exciting days ahead. From next season, Ziyech and £53m striker Timo Werner will add guile and goal threat to this developing side.
And yet, Tuesday was also further evidence of how much work still remains.
As Lampard passes his half century, there are arguably more questions than answers: is Kepa Arrizabalaga a viable long-term No 1? What is his best backline?
Chelsea manager Frank Lampard still has many problems after hitting half a century of games
Norwich provided little insight there but further forward uncertainty reigns, too: Who features in Lampard’s best midfield? Who will play alongside Werner and Ziyech?
Given the options at the manager’s disposal, there will be little sympathy from his peers. Not least Daniel Farke, who will be more concerned with players heading the other way.
There was a time when Todd Cantwell looked certain to be among them
Manchester United, City and Tottenham were all tracking him. Now? No goal in 14 league appearances, no assist since August. No longer even guaranteed a starting berth on this sinking ship.
Norwich’s Todd Cantwell is not a guaranteed starter after 14 league games without a goal
The eye-catching hair has grown but Cantwell looks a costume of the brash talent of life before lockdown.
On Tuesday night, his most telling contribution was allowing Christian Pulisic a yard to set up Olivier Giroud’s opener.
Time is running out if he wants to join Ziyech and earn a move to pastures new.