Chelsea summer signing Hakim Ziyech has hit the ground running after a delayed start to life at Stamford Bridge due to an injury in pre-season. He provided two brilliant assists last time out in the 4-1 win over Sheffield United to help stretch Chelsea’s winning run to four games.
Lampard will be hoping the former Ajax star can continue his good form this weekend when they take on Newcastle.
And the Chelsea boss has already indicated that Ziyech will be key to any success they have over the next few years.
But Ziyech’s performances during the international break for Morocco may well have handed Lampard a big headache in the long run.
Morocco secured two big wins over Central African Republic, with Ziyech scoring three goals to help put his country on the verge of qualification for the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations.
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They’re currently top of their group with just two games remaining and hold a six-point advantage over third-placed Burundi.
It would take an almighty turnaround for Morocco not to qualify for the tournament and they will likely seal in March when the next batch group matches take place.
But it also means Chelsea are almost certainly set to be without Ziyech for a large portion of next season.
The Africa Cup of Nations was scheduled to take place in 2021, but it was moved back a year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
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Premier League clubs have already indicated their anger at the timing of the tournament taking place midway through the season.
And Chelsea already have Edouard Mendy unavailable during the tournament with Senegal sealed their passage to the finals this week.
The Blues have plenty of time to sort out their team before the tournament in 2022.
But having both Mendy and Ziyech unavailable in a crucial part of the season in little over a year will be a huge blow to Lampard.
Some of Chelsea’s international players are still only just returning from the two-week break with little time to prepare for the game against Newcastle on Saturday.
And Lampard confirmed Thiago Silva will not feature after the centre-back played both games for Brazil while only returning to the club on Thursday.
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