Chelsea’s enigmatic striker Michy Batshuayi had failed to make a real claim for the starting spot before the season, with previous managers using him either as a backup or deciding to send him on loan, despite him being clinical off the bench. This season was a chance for the Batman to claim his spot, because he was competing with Tammy Abraham, an unproven young striker, and Olivier Giroud, an experienced backup. Many fans expected him to step up, but he hasn’t been able to do that.
As the season began, it became very clear that Frank Lampard’s plan was to make Tammy Abraham his main man, with Batshuayi and Giroud being capable deputies to fill in when required. As the season progressed, we saw Michy make a few appearances here and there as the preferred second option, and Giroud was left out completely. Starting the season with injury issues, Michy gradually made the bench and then featured in a few substitute appearances in the league, playing just a few minutes in those games without making a significant impact. However, he still managed to get an assist for Mason Mount’s goal in our 5-2 win against Wolves, and he scored a goal against Southampton in the 89th minute to make it 4-1 Blues.
When he was handed a start in EFL cup against Grimsby Town, he dazzled, scoring 2 goals and assisting 1 to majorly contribute in our 7-1 win, while capping his best performance of the season. He also started the game against Manchester United in the 4th round, where he scored a brilliant solo goal on the break after running through a horde of defenders and perfectly placing his shot into the net from range. This turned out to be Michy’s best goal of the season, and definitely one of the contenders for the his best moment of the season, but unfortunately Rashford’s freekick knocked us out of the contest. Michy’s EFL cup performances in those 2 games were very good, recording 3 goals and 1 assist.
However, he couldn’t emulate this in the league and continued to come off the bench, failing to make an impression, all the while teammate Tammy Abraham was grabbing the headlines for his terrific goal scoring form. He did have a second chance, though, with Abraham’s form slowly deteriorating as a result of knocks and injuries. He started both FA cup games in January, but fizzled out with a poor 3rd round performance, having at least four good opportunities to score yet failing to get on the score-sheet against Forrest. He managed to score an important goal in our 2-1 4th round win against Hull City. Michy’s only league start was against Manchester United in February, but we lost 2-0 and his performance was once again poor. He was subbed off in the 68th minute for Olivier Giroud. After that, Michy lost his spot to Olivier Giroud again, who came in when Tammy got injured and acted as a capable deputy, with a few good performances to cement his place in the side during Tammy’s absence, while the Batman was reduced to the bench once again.
His best moment of the season, did not come in any of these competitions though, as it was his all-important substitute appearance away to Ajax in the UEFA Champions League. He scored the winner to give us an important away win in our Champions League group, very close to full time, slamming Pulisic’s ball in off the underside of the crossbar with a left-footed strike to get Chelsea all three points on the night. Those three points proved to be crucial in our later qualification. After that moment, every Chelsea fan thought that maybe there was a special Dortmund connection building with Pulisic and Batshuayi, with both coming on from the bench and combining for goals in the Southampton and Ajax wins. The pair again combined late for Batshuayi’s second goal against Grimsby Town, but that didn’t really seem to continue to work out throughout the season either, unfortunately.
Statistically his season at first it doesn’t seem to be a very bad one. Batshuayi made 24 appearances in all competitions, scoring 6 goals and nabbing 2 assists, which is a good return because he played as a substitute in most of those games. However, if you don’t go purely by stats, then you see that he has been poor most of the times, even when scoring goals. In the cameo against Ajax when he scored, he almost made getting 3 points more difficult than it looked, punting a shot over the crossbar when he should have scored, but saved his blushes after scoring minutes later. His attacking play apart from his finishing has left much to be desired. He has shown good linkup in attack at times, but he has not been able to use it to full effect, as he has often been let down by his decision-making. He seems to opt to run in alone in a one-dimensional manner, eyes only on goal and not on his own team-mates, where he then loses the ball in the process of trying to take on the entire defense alone. His worst showing of this season was, for me, the game against Nottingham Forrest. In that game he was handed a start, and we actually won 2-0. Callum Hudson-Odoi and Reece James were linking up very well on the right hand side and creating a host of chances for Batshuayi, but Batshuayi just couldn’t find the net. He wasn’t impressive in his overall play either, and most Chelsea fans had lost patience with him after that game. We started demanding that Giroud, who hadn’t played much at all, should be given a chance over him.
If you look at his numbers and ignore what you’ve seen from him, maybe he deserves more game time to showcase what he’s got, but every manager has been reluctant to hand him starts, including Frank Lampard, even when their main strikers haven’t been available. The only way to boost up his career might be to seek a move to a mid-table team, or in a less difficult league, and he could try to find his way again. His future does not seem to look very bright at Chelsea. He is a good finisher and can definitely be a good striker elsewhere, but he simply isn’t at a level where he can start games for Chelsea or compete to be our main striker. With the Premier League set to return, he is sure to be Lampard’s third choice, with Tammy Abraham available again and Olivier Giroud making a claim to start more often. I doubt Batshuayi will have enough time to turn his Chelsea career around.
My 2019-2020 season rating for him so far would be 4/10. Here’s to hoping for more super-sub appearances and more key goals from the Batman once the season restarts.
Edited by: Dan