Does Michy Batshuayi have a Chelsea future?
Antonio Conte doesn’t seem to be a fan
Chelsea striker Michy Batshuayi looked furious when he was substituted against Crystal Palace last weekend. But he can’t have been that surprised. He made little impact during his 56 minutes on the pitch at Selhurst Park.
It was a rare chance to impress for Batshuayi. He scored the goal that sealed the title for Chelsea last season but he played very little part overall. The 24-year-old only saw 299 minutes of top-flight action in total.
Saturday’s 2-1 defeat against Crystal Palace was only his third Premier League start since his £33m arrival from Marseille last summer.
The Belgian has a decent scoring record overall for the West London club. He’s got 14 goals in 35 appearances. His five league goals last season gave him an average of 1.51 goals per 90 minutes – the highest in the division.
But Antonio Conte doesn’t seem to trust him. It’s hard to imagine the former Juventus manager taking off either Diego Costa or Alvaro Morata if his side were chasing a goal.
It was particularly notable when Batshuayi wasn’t called upon against Manchester City last month. He’d scored a late winner against Atletico Madrid only days before and would have been full of confidence.
But when Morata pulled up injured in the first-half, Conte decided to bring on Willian. Essentially, he opted to play without a recognised striker instead of bringing on Batshuayi.
Is the former Anderlecht man good enough to be playing regularly for a side of Chelsea’s ambitions? He hasn’t had many chances to state his case. But it seems like his manager has his mind made up. When Conte needs a goal, he doesn’t count on Batshuayi to deliver.
That’s a tough position for a striker to be in. It’s especially difficult in a World Cup year, when he’s battling the likes of Romelu Lukaku and Dries Mertens for a place in the Belgium team.
Unless something dramatically changes in the next few months, Batshuayi’s future may be best served away from Stamford Bridge.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing