Michy Batshuayi must have felt as if the west London sun was beating down on him like a spotlight as Chelsea strolled to a convincing, almost unopposed 3-0 win over Newcastle. With so much talk about his future and the lack of faith Antonio Conte places in him over the last few months, the need for goals in the only competition that offers the Blues a likely chance of silverware this season, in the absence of £60million striker Alvaro Morata, inevitably put Batshuayi’s turbulent Chelsea career at centre-stage on Sunday.
In terms of finding the net, Batshuayi certainly didn’t let his side down. He opened Chelsea’s account after just 31 minutes, giving them a real foothold in the match, and then completed his brace just before half time to put the home side in complete control. But in truth, scoring goals has never been Batshuayi’s problem – he’s already hit double figures across all competitions this season and averaged one goal per 93 minutes throughout his spell at Stamford Bridge.
The real problem though is Batshuayi’s all-round game; his positional awareness, his intelligence when making runs, his first touch and his hold-up play; and Conte will have seen little on Sunday to really change his mind.
The 11-cap Belgium international still suffered four unsuccessful touches and was dispossessed three times (the most of any Chelsea player on both fronts) while he won just one aerial duel and didn’t provide a single key pass in the space of ninety minutes – despite the two players either side of him, Eden Hazard and Pedro, taking seven efforts at goal.
There are rumours of the 24-year-old completing a loan move to Borussia Dortmund before the transfer window slams shut on Wednesday and regardless of his impressive brace at the weekend, Conte certainly won’t stand in the deal’s way.
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