Friday, June 22, 2018

Romelu Lukaku needs to up his game at Manchester United

David Nugent in Editorial, English Premier League 12 Dec 2017

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There has been some major stick thrown Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku’s way in recent weeks, especially after the 2-1 Manchester derby defeat by City on Sunday.

When Manchester United signed Romelu Lukaku in the summer from Everton, they knew what they were getting. They were signing a very good striker with the potential to become world-class.

No way was he world-class at Everton and he was never going to become world-class because he supposedly had a better class of teammate around him. He needed time at the top level to develop his game.

There is potential for the striker to improve and get better as a footballer. Unfortunately, United need a readymade star striker, Lukaku is not fulfilling that role at present.

Struggling for form

Lukaku made a bright start to his United career, scoring goals for fun in the first few months of his career with the Red Devils. However, the 24-year-old has now scored just two goals in his last 14 appearances for United.

The Belgium international is not looking like the player that started his United career in such promising fashion.

He looks slightly laboured and seems to be struggling with his fitness, which for a guy of 24 at the peak of physical fitness seems strange in December. Some will claim that he is fatigued having started every United game this season. However, he joined United to be playing in the Champions League and play every game.

Lukaku’s struggles are familiar ones to Everton fans. He was prolific for Toffees. However, if he was not on his game and scoring goals, he offered the team very little by the way of work rate or harrying of the opposition.

Needs to score in big games to prove credentials

Lukaku nearly scored in the Manchester derby to level the scores. However, City goalkeeper Ederson made a good save. For Lukaku, though that nearly is the difference between him being a very good striker and a world-class one.

Lukaku has this label of a flat-track bully and he has done very little to disprove that tag this season. To be fair to Lukaku, United boss Jose Mourinho’s tactics in big games do not help either.

The Portuguese boss is famous for ‘parking the bus’ at rivals grounds and it has worked on numerous occasions. However, that sort of tactic means Lukaku working off scraps in attack.

A good example was when the Red Devils drew 0-0 at north west rivals, Liverpool. Lukaku barely had a touch against the Reds and endured a difficult afternoon.

Lukaku offered little in attack for United in the derby, apart from that one shot saved by Ederson. The big striker even inadvertently provided City with an assist when he was back in his half box defending.

It is not as if Lukaku is missing chance after chance, though. His teammates need to create more opportunities for the striker to find the net. He is unlikely to fashion many on his own, as it is not really his game.

Can get back in the goals against Bournemouth

United and Lukaku host Bournemouth at Old Trafford on Wednesday night, as the Red Devils, look to bounce back from the derby defeat. Bournemouth are ideal visitors for Lukaku to get back in the goals against and the striker is odds of 4/6 to score against the Cherries at any point in the game.

The visitors are the sort of opponents Lukaku likes. They are very poor at defending and prefer to give opposing team’s chances of scoring goals. Lukaku has a good scoring record against Bournemouth too, scoring four times in his last three appearances against Eddie Howe’s side.

Hopefully, for Lukaku’s sake, he can get back to scoring goals sooner rather than later. However, he must up his game for United and let his goals do the talking.

The 24-year-old liked to talk his ability up while at Everton. Well, he needs to start proving that he is good enough to play for a team with aspirations of challenging for the big trophies.

If he does not then people will soon label him a flop and question why the Red Devils paid such a big fee for the striker.

Can Lukaku become a world-class striker at Manchester United?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Nugent


David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The experienced writer has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.

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