In Alvaro Morata’s absence, Chelsea striker Michy Batshuayi was handed a rare start by Antonio Conte on Saturday afternoon.
The Blues were beaten 2-1 by a Crystal Palace team that had failed to register a single goal or even a single point so far this season.
Signed from Real Madrid for a club-record £58m fee, Morata has been in stunning form in the early stages of the 2017/18 season.
The 24-year-old came off injured during the 1-0 defeat to Manchester City but could return when Chelsea host Roma in the Champions League on Wednesday night.
Batshuayi, also 24, started up front against Palace but the former Marseille hitman looked way off the pace at Selhurst Park.
Conte spoke about Batshuayi in his pre-match press conference but Chelsea fans may well question the Italian coach’s suggestion that the Belgian striker is “improving”.
“I think if you compare Michy with last season he has improved a lot and he understood this league because it is not simple,” Conte told reporters. “He understood our style of football but he is another young player and he is working very hard to improve.
“This season he is finding many opportunities to play in the Champions League, in the league, to come on during the game, and to start the game. If you remember last season he had few opportunities to play but this season he is playing a lot and the most important thing is to show he is improving.”
Sherwood’s brutal Batshuayi assessment
Former Tottenham manager Tim Sherwood was in the BT Sport studio and made an interesting point about Chelsea’s options up front.
Tammy Abraham is on loan at Swansea City and scored a brace in their 2-0 win over Huddersfield Town on Saturday afternoon.
It’s hard to argue with Sherwood and Chelsea fans on Twitter definitely seemed to agree.
Batshuayi has netted five times for Chelsea so far this season but has failed to score in the Premier League.
Fans at Stamford Bridge will be desperate for Morata to return to full fitness ahead of an upcoming trio of home games against Roma, Watford and Everton.
Batshuayi may find himself on the transfer list next summer if he is unable to up his game.