Ray Parlour claims ‘baffling’ Chelsea are missing ‘sensational’ Hakim Ziyech

Chelsea star Hakim Ziyech has been sidelined with a thigh problem (Picture: Getty)

Ray Parlour says he’s been ‘baffled’ by Chelsea’s topsy-turvy season and believes Frank Lampard has struggled without Hakim Ziyech, who was in ‘sensational’ form before his thigh injury.

Chelsea were being touted as strong contenders for the Premier League title as they went on a 14-match unbeaten streak but just one win in their last six games is a major cause for concern ahead of this weekend’s heavyweight clash with Manchester City.

Speaking after Chelsea’s 1-1 draw with Aston Villa, Lampard said it was no coincidence that the club’s poor run of results came while summer arrival Ziyech was sidelined.

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Parlour clearly agrees about Ziyech’s absence being significant and reckons Lampard will be have been ‘scratching his head’ in recent weeks – but there are hopes the Moroccan could return to boost the Blues versus City on Sunday.

‘The team that has baffled me at the moment is Chelsea,’ the ex-Arsenal and England midfielder told talkSPORT.

‘Chelsea were looking so good under Frank, then suddenly they have a couple of defeats.

‘Even against Villa, Villa were superb, looked like they could get something out of the game and nearly won the game.

‘Chelsea were knocking on the door as well but Frank must be scratching his head.

‘I know they lost Ziyech, who has been sensational since he’s been there, but I thought it could be a very close season for them this year.’

Lampard’s side play host to Manchester City this weekend (Picture: Getty)

Parlour predicted there could be ‘loads of teams’ battling it out for a top-four finish in a nail-biting end to the 2020/21 campaign.

He added: ‘It’s so competitive this year. You look at the points tally between fifth and where Arsenal are, it’s only six points which is nothing.

‘It’s such a tight little league and it’s great to see because it’s not going to be like Liverpool last year, who ran away with the title.

‘I think it’s going to be very close.

‘Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s right: seven or eight games to go and there could be loads of teams with a chance to get in the top four and with a chance of winning the title.’

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