Richard Buxton: Michy 'Batsman' Batshuayi can be Chelsea's superhero
Batsman's goal against Irish side a sign that he can belatedly be a Chelsea superhero
Michy Batshuayi might finally live up to his superhero billing for Chelsea.
Batshuayi had become the forgotten man of Stamford Bridge, despite scoring the goal that clinched the 2016/17 title.
A whistle-stop tour of European football in the past 18 months - taking in Borussia Dortmund, Valencia and Crystal Palace - rendered him persona non grata.
Less than prolific returns in his last two stops did not strengthen the 25-year-old's credentials for a triumphant return, with the Belgian scoring just 18 goals in a half-century of matches.
Antonio Conte did not trust him, nor did Maurizio Sarri.
Circumstance, however, has afforded Batshuayi a previously unlikely lifeline.
Lampard refused to make the same mistakes as his predecessors. After all, he has first-hand experience of being prematurely written off.
His own playing career was blighted by early accusations of inadequacy.
As a precocious youngster at West Ham United, Lampard had to win over a fan base that viewed his regular first-team place as an act of nepotism by his uncle and erstwhile manager Harry Redknapp.
In west London, too, he had to confront cynicism head-on following an £11 million (S$18.7m) switch from his boyhood club.
Those early doubts eventually gave way to high praise in a 13-year career that ultimately led to him taking over the Chelsea hot seat last week.
But, rather than making a clean break with the club's past, Lampard has sought to embrace it.
One of his first acts as manager was to publicly offer an olive branch to Batshuayi and fellow Sarri outcast Danny Drinkwater, who also featured in the 1-1 draw at Dalymount Park.
Mitigating factors have admittedly forced the former England midfielder's hand.
Fifa's two-window transfer embargo leaves him with the unenviable decision of choosing between Batshuayi, Olivier Giroud and a returning Tammy Abraham to lead the line next season.
The swelled ranks of Chelsea's loan army will finally serve an actual purpose.
In Batshuayi and Abraham, whose exploits helped Aston Villa secure their return to the EPL, Lampard has two players that have reaped the benefits of time away from a melting pot of impatience.
Ordinarily, pre-season friendlies rarely prove a reliable barometer of what is set to follow in the coming season.
Line-ups patched together of first-team misfits and callow youth are unlikely to come to fruition in the harsh realities of the EPL and Champions League. Except Chelsea are not living in ordinary times, even by their own chaotic standards.
For the first time in Roman Abramovich's premiership, they cannot simply spend their way out of trouble.
Resourcefulness has become a rare tool for their latest managerial incumbent.
Lampard benefited from his current employers' benevolence last term, when they lent him their best and brightest.
Returning the favour with Batshuayi and his loan cohorts may actually work to Chelsea's short-term advantage.
MICHY BATSHUAYI'S LOAN STINTS
Borussia Dortmund (2017/18)
- 14 matches, 9 goals
- 23 matches, 3 goals
Crystal Palace (2018/19)
- 13 matches, 6 goals