BY PAUL LAGAN
The watching Frank Lampard will be none the wiser after watching Belgian striker Michy Batshuayi score a brace for the U23s against Liverpool last night at Stamford Bridge as the development squad beat the Scousers 3-0 to remain undefeated in Premier League 2.
The £35million hit-man did very little other than punch the back of the net twice, not bad for a striker, but did he do enough to convince the head coach, he’s worth a place, at least on the bench for the weekend match at Norwich City?
He could and should have had at least a hat-trick – will the misses count against him?
Theses are the questions Lampard will have to address as he seeks a first league win of the season with only a single goal to call his own in that time
Chelsea play high octane football, couple that with intelligent positional play when without the ball, and that’s the dilemma Lampard has with the Belgian. Can he rely on him to perform when the opposition have the ball.
As for Rudiger, he was almost peerless in defence and should comfortably regain his place in the first-team squad if not as a starter against the Canaries.
Chelsea opted to put Batshuayi and Rudiger in the starting 11 for the development squad match against Liverpool – that’s £54million of talent, playing in front of an 1,800 crowd.
It’s very much an old school strategy from Frank Lampard. Neither of these two full internationals, returning from lack of form and injury respectfully would expect to be gaining match fitness playing effectively for the reserves.
Back in the day, in Lampard’s youth, it was a common occurrence to put a first-teamer in with the ‘stiff’ to gain match fitness.
Michy Batshuayi was inches away from tucking home after just a minute from the excellent left wing cross by Juan Castillo.
The visitors rode the early storm and were lucky not to be behind with close efforts from Tino Anjoin and Tariq Lampety, the later forcing a fine save from Caoimhin Kelleher on 16 minutes. The visitors rode the early storm and were lucky not to be behind with close efforts from Tino Anjoin and Tariq Lampety, the later forcing a fine save from Caoimhin Kelleher on 16 minutes.
Kelleher was forced into a fine save from Billy Gilmour, whose rasping 25 yarder was tipped away for a corner.
A scuffed effort by Gilmour resulted in another missed chance from the home side on 33 minutes.
Both efforts were created by swift, accurate short-passing movement that cut the Reds apart.
Batshuayi opened the scoring five minutes from the break. Winning the ball on the edge of the Liverpool penalty area, out-muscling Kelleher and clipping the ball into the empty net.
Batshuayi thumped home number two from close range a minute after the restart.
He should have had a hat-tick on 55 minutes but Kelleher made another terrific save whole Tino Anjorin’s follow-up bounced off the crossbar.
But the number 10 soon found his shooting boots again and weaved his way through the Liverpool defence with 16 minutes left on the clock to slot home Chelsea’s third from close range.
Teams: Chelsea: Cummings, Lampety, Rudiger, Guehi, Maatsen, Mola, Uwake, Gilmour, Batshuayi, Anjorin, Castillo
Subs: Lavinier, Ziger, Brown, Ballo, McEachran
Liverpool: Kelleher, Hoever, Larouci, Van Den Berg, Boyes, Kane, Elliott, Dixon-Bonner, Brewster, Lewis, Jones
Subs: Williams, Atherton, Duncan, Clayton, Gallagher
Referee: Gary Parsons