By Tim Harrison
Despite the boost in confidence that comes from scoring goals, young striker Michy Batshuayi still isn’t the real deal in the eyes of Blues manager Tony Conte.
How else to explain the decision to choose Willian over the young Belgian after centre forward Alvaro Morata pulled up half an hour into last weekend’s clash with Man City?
When you’ve spent £33million on the young striker who has just come off the bench to score the Champions League winner away in Madrid, why would you leave him on the bench, hiding inside his hoody?
It has to go down as a rare Conte tactical blunder.
Yet as the team scatters across the face of the planet for another international break, the manager refuses to accept blame.
No one is a tactical wizard all the time. But to argue that picking Willian ahead of an in-form striker was sound is plain wrong.
Batshuayi ‘celebrated’ his 24th birthday this week, but it will have had a hollow feel to it. He wasn’t brought on until the 73rd minute of the disappointing 1-0 defeat to City, when it was clear to everyone at the Bridge that Chelsea were being penned in and pegged back.
Next up for the Blues is a jaunt across town to beleaguered Palace. Conte can’t afford to let a bigger gap develop at the top of the table.
The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and unless specifically stated are not necessarily those of Hammersmith & Fulham Council.
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