Michy Batshuayi has suffered a frustrating start to his career at Chelsea with the Belgian being largely restricted to appearances from the bench. Despite having a decent goal-to-minute ratio in the Premier League, he cut a visibly frustrated figure in Chelsea’s surprise 2-1 defeat to Crystal Palace on October 14th.
The Brussels-born 24 year old may have netted the winner against Atletico Madrid in the UEFA Champions League at the Wanda Metropolitana and clinched the Blues’ Premier League title at the Hawthornes last season but he clearly isn’t rated by Antonio Conte. The luckless striker played 57 insipid minutes at Selhurst Park before being hauled off and replaced by midfielder Pedro as the Italian boss desperately plotted a way back into the match.
With Alvaro Morata sidelined by injury, it was the perfect opportunity for Batshuayi to prove his credentials against a side who had previously failed to find the back of the net but it didn’t go according to plan for the former Marseille man. His coach had previously assured fans that Batshuayi was “improving” before adding that “he is working very hard”.
The striker wasn’t the only player who underperformed in South London with Willian receiving plenty of criticism on social media and the usually reliable Cesar Azpilicueta netting an own goal and making a number of errors throughout the 90 minutes. Two defeats on the bounce has seen Chelsea’s chances of retaining their crown diminish and a range of bookmakers, including sportsbet.io to name one, have pushed them out to fourth favourites for the Premier League title at 16/1 this season.
Batshuayi caused very few problems for Scott Dann and Mamadou Sakho at Selhurst Park and he may not be given another chance to prove himself this season. Many Chelsea fans have been left wondering why Tammy Abraham has been sent out on loan to Swansea whilst the West Londoners appear to be short on striking options. The 20-year-old has been tipped by many to become a star and his weekend double for the Welsh club added to his already burgeoning reputation.
Fans are yet to be convinced by Batshuayi and Saturday’s performance will have done little to change their perception. He’s failed to net in the Premier League although he has managed to score in both Champions League encounters and his impact from the bench has proved incredibly profitable for the club. Chelsea cannot afford to hold onto a striker who only performs in short-bursts and excels during ten-minute cameos and with Tammy Abraham possibly waiting in the wings, he will need to improve immeasurably over the next few months.
Alvaro Morata is reportedly ahead of schedule with his return from injury and that is bad news for Batshuayi. Conte isn’t averse to operating with a false number nine, a tactic that has proved profitable for the likes of Napoli and Barcelona in the past and he could opt to go down this route if Morata suffers any further setbacks.
The Belgian’s performance hasn’t done him any favours and he looks set for further frustration sat on the Chelsea bench over the coming months. Don’t be surprised if the Blues choose to cash in on the 24-year-old in January.