How should we look at the start of Michy Batshuayi's Chelsea career?
Michy Batshuayi was signed for £33 million, which looked to be a huge fee for a player with just one season as a first team regular for Marseille. However, during August, he has shown the world why Chelsea paid as much as they did and confirmed his status as one of the best young strikers in Europe.
After his signing was announced, there was a lot of speculation about how he would be utilised at the club with the option of pairing him with Diego Costa. Antonio Conte has decided to ease Batshuayi into the Premier League by using him as an impact substitute and he has thrived in that role.
He has played just 32 minutes in the league across three matches, but it is clear that he is going to play a huge role for Chelsea this campaign. His energy and movement make him the perfect player to make an impact off the bench against tired legs. The Belgian played a major part in Chelsea’s two dramatic late wins against West Ham and Watford, showing his mentality to grasp even the smallest of opportunities given to him.
Batshuayi has a knack of affecting matches as a late substitute and could be the best in that role since Javier Hernandez played in the Premier League.
That isn’t to say that he is going to be restricted to substitute appearances as the season progresses, because he has the ability to influence matches from the start as he showed with two goals in the EFL Cup. However, unlike some strikers, Batshuayi can come on for five minutes and play at full intensity straight away, which is a good weapon for Conte to have.
During his three cameo appearances, Batshuayi has managed to contribute a goal and an assist, despite his limited playing time. Throughout his career, he is a proactive striker that manages to get lots of shots in on goal, as showed by his tally of four efforts in just 32 minutes.
If he is on the field of play, he will get chances in the final third. Although his decision making is questionable at times, he is a huge goal threat and has provided real competition for Diego Costa.
This has been lacking since Costa joined the club from Atlético Madrid and the signing of Batshuayi has led to the Spaniard improving on the pitch. His overall contribution hasn’t been at the level it should be, but he has scored two winning goals and looks to be using his aggression in the right way.
In the matches against West Ham and Watford, Conte showed that he will play the two strikers together if Chelsea need a goal. On both occasions it worked perfectly and the two strikers complement each other well. They are both aggressive in their movement, which makes it a nightmare for defenders if Conte decides to pair them together.
One undervalued part of Batshuayi’s game is his mentality. He is a positive character who doesn’t think that he deserves anything. The Belgian recognises the value of hard work both on and off the pitch, which is refreshing in the modern day. He has already struck up a great relationship with the Chelsea supporters and his enthusiasm will be good to have around the squad.
It is incredible that a player that has played just 32 minutes is being praised in the way Batshuayi is, but he deserves it. The Belgian has been a key figure in two of the three Chelsea wins and has been asked to come on when the side has needed a big contribution from him. Conte has managed him well and he looks suited to changing a game from the bench.
As the season progresses, Batshuayi will be integrated into the starting eleven and it wouldn’t be a surprise if he is their first choice striker at the end of the season.
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