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Chelsea team news: Ziyech returns to training ahead of Man City game

H

akim Ziyech has returned to training ahead of Chelsea’s clash with Manchester City after recovering from hamstring injury.  

The Morocco international hasn’t played since limping off against Leeds at the start of December – but is in contention to feature against Pep Guardiola’s side.  

But Frank Lampard will be without Reece James, who is yet to recover from the hamstring strain he picked up after Chelsea’s Boxing Day defeat to Arsenal.  

The return of Ziyech will be a major boost, with Chelsea winning just one game from six without him over a dismal Christmas.  

Lampard said: “He’s fit to train. He’s trained last two or three days. I will make the decision as to whether he is ready to start.”

Lampard believes his side have lost their fluidity in recent weeks – which coincides with Ziyech’s absence.  

He believes victory against City would be an important statement after falling away at the top of the table.  

“It’s significant for ourselves because it’s a game we want to win against a very good opposition,” he said. “They are always going to be there or there abouts. We know that.  

“To be up there with them even with our recent run of form in the last few games is a plus and an opportunity to win a game against a competitor.

“I am confident in us as a team. I know that when we play at Stamford Bridge, as well as we can, then we have an opportunity to beat anybody.  

Saying that, City are right at the top so when we beat them after the restart for instance, 2-1, that was a difficult game that we had to suffer at times because they are such a good possession-based team.  

“I am confident in us. I know we have to be at our best to win because of the level of opposition.  

“It’s important because we are coming off the back of a few games where we have not been at our best and we have dropped some points.  

“We were fortunate that we had a really long and unbeaten run before that so the table doesn’t look terribly bad when you think that we are very close to the top four positions so it is important for us, yes.  

“Mentally, we need to start winning regularly. In terms of the year ahead, we are still progressing and we have improvements to make, I knew that and I know that now and that’s what we have to do, work hard every day.”  

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