Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel’s tactical switch has helped him find new star man

For a manager often referred to as possessing the complete team, Thomas Tuchel has had to repeatedly re-piece Chelsea puzzle in recent weeks.

Injuries to Reece James and Ben Chilwell blew his side apart, while his supposed final piece Romelu Lukaku has left plenty to be desired on and off the pitch.

However, the former Paris Saint-Germain and Borussia Dortmund boss somehow manages to assemble a winning side.

Chelsea have been far from perfect in recent weeks, but that is hardly surprising when the Blues’ current predicament calls for Andreas Christensen to be jammed uncomfortably into right-back.

Similarly, to the Dane, Malang Sarr has had to acclimatise to unfamiliar territory at left-back position, but unlike his defensive counterpart, the Frenchman is thriving in his new environment.

But when so many of his players are, for better or for worse, having to learn and adapt to new positions, Hakim Ziyech is enjoying his best period of form in his new position.

Ever since he made the switch from Ajax to Chelsea, Blues fans have often been left demanding more from the Moroccan.

At his best, he is a true footballing maestro who has the capacity to switch the complexion of a contest with one swish of his majestic left-foot.

Tuchel’s preferred 3-4-3 formation has often seen Ziyech deployed as one of the three attacking players or, somewhat outrageously, as a right-wing-back.

His lack of natural pace and preference to cut inside onto his left-foot has often resulted in the 28-year-old being shepherded into dead ends, or easily intercepted by the opposition defenders.

“We switched systems lately. If we play in a back four, a 4-1-4-1, with a right winger position – this suits Hakim (Ziyech) very best,” Tuchel said before the victory at Palace.

“This position was not available from the start in the final so we took the tactical decision to play with the back three so did not leave us with the same position for Hakim so he came from the bench.”

Ever since Tuchel was forced into a formation change, Ziyech has been able to comfortably hug the bi-lines and menacingly lurk behind his opposing full-backs.

It was there he was able to ghost onto Marcos Alonso’s floated cross to the back-post and volley home from close range.

Whether it is getting on the end of crosses or cutting inside a whipping a sumptuous delivery into the box, Ziyech has the ability, and freedom, to hurt teams at both posts.

Very few players can land a ball on a six-pence like the former Ajax man and Tuchel knows it.

And if a back four is to become a permanent fixture at Stamford Bridge, then Ziyech will likely become one of the first names on the team sheet.

Before things started to spiral out of Lampard’s control, Ziyech and James appeared to form an almost telepathic understanding on the right-flank.

James’ running crosses on the overlap and the Moroccan’s vicious in-swinging deliveries to the back-post, it was a case of pick your poison for the opposition.

And if Tuchel decides to stick with the formation which has restored balance to a disintegrating team in recent weeks, then opposition full backs will be truly terrified of Ziyech.