Michy Batshuayi had an enjoyable first loan spell with the club. Now, Palace will look to the striker not just for goals but for influence, too. Here's a look back at some of his most impactful moments last time round.
During another transfer window with Palace fans clamouring for a centre forward, Crystal Palace has landed Michy Batshuayi for a second loan spell in three seasons. The 2019-20 season was one to forget for Batshuayi as he rarely featured under Frank Lampard, who favoured both Tammy Abraham and Oliver Giroud in the attack. Since his £35m move from Marseille in 2016, he has only played 812 minutes in the Premier League for Chelsea. Despite signing a contract extension ahead of this loan, the signing of Timo Werner among other high profile signings has signalled the end of his time at Stamford Bridge.
With a year of few opportunities, can Crystal Palace expect a return to the form he showed previously in Roy Hodgson's system? His five goals in 11 appearances gave Palace a weapon to capitalise in games when they had the advantage and against the run of play. His arrival instantly gives Palace more options as to how they can line up. Batshuayi could drop into Ayew's 2019-20 role freeing the Ghanian to play deeper or on the wing, or he can act as a foil to Christian Benteke's more physical play.
Here's a look back at matches in which Michy Batshuayi made a difference with his goals:
1) Full debut at King Power
40: The ball sat up nicely for McArthur, who shot from distance. His effort flew into the path of Batshuayi and he directed it goalwards! COME ON!— Crystal Palace F.C. (@CPFC) February 23, 2019
After a two cameo substitute appearances, Batshuayi made his full debut in a tricky fixture away to Leicester City. After a period on the back foot, a poke at James McArthur's long-range shot left Kasper Schmeichel wrong-footed and gave Palace a first-half lead. The game ended in a rout, 4-1 to the Eagles.
2) Driving home the advantage
❤️💙🦅👏👏👏👏great goal pic.twitter.com/18qivBeTHB— Richard Kingdon (@soberich) March 2, 2019
Having to endure Palace clinging to narrow advantages has undoubtedly been a theme of this past season. Still, in 2018-19 away fixture against Burnley, the Belgian international delivered a knock-out blow minutes into the second half. Cleverly holding his run to create space, Batshuayi met a low-cross from Aaron Wan-Bissaka, firing it into the right side of the goal with a clean first-time shot.
3) The cup still counts!
The dream for an FA Cup trophy still lingers on, but in (another) cup match vs Watford, a solo effort from Michy briefly kept the tie alive. Pouncing on an error from ex-Palace man Adrian Marriapa, he cut in from the left, finessing the ball past the Watford goalkeeper.
4) Bringing one-touch football to Wales
A high scoring game in Cardiff saw Jordan Ayew and Michy Batshuayi starting upfront together in a classic Hodgson 4-4-2 formation. Luka Milivojević's pass found Michy just inside the box, and a quick 1-2 with Ayew via the legs of a Cardiff defender left him with plenty of space to fire into the top left corner.