Football: Matic backs Batshuayi to fill in for Costa

Chelsea midfielder Nemanja Matic said teammate Michy Batshuayi (pictured) is ready to take the opportunity in Diego Costa's absence.
Chelsea midfielder Nemanja Matic said teammate Michy Batshuayi (pictured) is ready to take the opportunity in Diego Costa's absence. PHOTO: REUTERS

(REUTERS) - Michy Batshuayi will be ready to grab his chance if selected to replace the suspended Diego Costa for Chelsea's Boxing Day clash with Bournemouth in the English Premier League, said midfielder Nemanja Matic.

Costa, the league's leading scorer with 13 goals, will miss the match after picking up his fifth booking last weekend and Batshuayi, who signed from Marseille in the close season, has been tipped to get his first league start.

"When you have Diego in the team it is very hard to get a chance because he is playing so well and scoring goals, but I'm sure Michy is ready to take his opportunity because he is working hard every day," Matic told the London Evening Standard.

Batshuayi has scored three times in 13 appearances for Chelsea, and Matic said the 23-year-old Belgian was an excellent understudy to Costa. "Of course he has benefited from working with Costa," he added.

"It was the same with me seven years ago (in Matic's first spell at Chelsea). It was very good for me to see how Frank Lampard played, how Michael Ballack played and Michael Essien.

"So it is good for Michy and a good experience for him to see Diego's movement. He will have learned from watching and playing with Diego."

Midfielder N'Golo Kante is also suspended, and Cesc Fabregas is expected to partner Matic in midfield for the league leaders when 10th-placed Bournemouth visit Stamford Bridge.