A sympathetic perspective on Michy Batshuayi from our mate over the pond, Scott Brant…
As expected the Blues took care of Peterborough United with ease. The FA cup match was the first start for Michy Batshuayi since a EFL cup match in late October vs West Ham United. The young striker who arrived in a transfer from Marseille in Ligue 1 at the beginning of the season is struggling at Chelsea. Amidst rumors of a loan, and gossip surrounding Fernando Llorente reuniting with his old manager Antonio Conte, Michy surely is flustered. He has had next to no minutes due to the rich vein of form Diego Costa is currently in. But, Chelsea will need a trusted backup to Diego if they wish to lift the trophy at the end of the season. Listen to Kerry Dixon’s views on Batshuayi here.
Michy Batsh… how about just Bats from now on. Bats undoubtedly has the skills, mentality, and physicality to succeed in the Premier League and at Chelsea. He needs TIME, which is precisely the problem. The Blues simply can not afford to play Bats in a learn as you go role. Chelsea are top of the league and looking to stay there, now is not the time to bring a player along slowly. Put yourself in Bats’ shoes, when he looks around – everything is different. It must be hard to adapt to a new league, country, manager, and system – all at once. It’s understandable why he might struggle a little when envisioning the hurdles he has in front of him.
In the recent FA cup match it was clearly evident Bats had blinkers on. He literally only focused on netting a goal for himself. That’s usually the striker mentality, score, score, score. But if the desperation to score has a negative effect on his decision making, it will only hurt his chances at more minutes in the future. One specific instance, he received a pass in the box, and to his right was a winger in perhaps a better goal scoring position. Bats put his head down and drilled a shot into the defender, the shot never making it more than a few feet. Other chances in the box resulted in either a wrong turn to the left or right, or a souvenir into the nose bleeds. Yes, Bats scored a goal and had a assist. But when you watch him for the entire 90 minutes, you can see he can’t shoulder the weight that Costa is currently carrying.
Trust has to be the underlying issue regarding Bats “playing time”. Antonio Conte can’t possibly trust Bats to be Diego Costa’s primary back up. This point was made crystal clear when Costa was suspended for card accumulation, and Conte deployed Hazard as a false nine. When Antonio Conte arrived at Stamford Bridge I would imagine the slate was wiped clean and everybody had a chance to prove themselves. For instance Moses impressed Conte so much that he found a position for him to play. Is Bats not doing enough in training for Conte to trust him? Possibly. A solution could be to loan him out and allow him to progress with the time and space needed. It has to be difficult to sit behind Diego and watch what he is doing week in and week out and not try to live up to that standard when you get a opportunity. A loan without the pressures of being as productive as Diego Costa could be what Michy Batshuayi needs to fulfill his potential. Michy can be a world class player, it’s up to the club not to “Chelsea it up”!