Alan Shearer Has A Theory About Why Lukaku Has Struggled Against Top Teams
Romelu Lukaku did his best to silence a few doubters, yesterday, with a terrific match winning display against Chelsea in which the Belgian centre forward scored the equaliser and assisted the winner in Manchester United's 2-1 victory over the Premier League champions.
Lukaku's performance was one many fans felt was long overdue against another top side, with his goal in the first half his first against top eight opposition since arriving at Old Trafford from Everton in a £75 million deal, last summer.
Despite having 22 goals to his name this term and being on course for what would potentially be the first 30 goal season of his career, Lukaku has had plenty of detractors, with his performances in big games a major sticking point for many critics, along with his questionable first touch. Also, given the form of the likes of Harry Kane and Mohamed Salah, who have both emphatically outscored Lukaku this term while offering their teams a lot more and costing significantly less (in Kane's case, £75 million less), Lukaku's shortcomings have had even more light shone on them than they usually might.
Man of the Match, @ManUtd's Romelu Lukaku
Assist for Lingard (6th in PL this season)
5 shots, 3 on target
13th PL goal of the season
1st goal in 8 PL apps v Chelsea pic.twitter.com/n2St6ugc7m
- Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) February 25, 2018
A brilliant centre forward performance from Lukaku. It just begs the question, why doesn't he play like that more often? #ManuChelsea
- Alan Shearer (@alanshearer) February 25, 2018
However, Alan Shearer, the Premier League's all time leading goal scorer, came to the defence of the former Everton man during his analysis on Match Of The Day 2, last night.
The Newcastle United legend questioned how suitable Jose Mourinho's tactics in big games are for Lukaku to prosper to his full potential.
Is this why Lukaku doesn't always perform against the top sides? pic.twitter.com/lxvT6DiNmD
- BBC Sport (@BBCSport) February 26, 2018
"I do have got a little bit of sympathy for him, because of the way United play and the way Mourinho wants them to play.
"With either Herrera in there or Matic, once the midfielder gets the ball, not always are their first thought, 'can I get the ball forward?'
"Sometimes their first thought is, 'I'll go to the left, I'll go back or maybe I'll go right'.
"But if it were to happen more often and look forward first, play that ball forward, that makes it so much easier for a centre forward to cause problems."
Shearer does make a good point, as Lukaku has often been starved of service in big games when Mourinho has preferred to set up his team in a more rigid system that isn't going to generate a lot of goal scoring opportunities.
While Lukaku has been burdened with this reputation of never doing the business against the big teams, he does have five career goals against Liverpool to his name, as well as four against Manchester City, before he became a United player, last year.
Regarding his own form against the top six, Lukaku revealed after yesterday's match that it wasn't something that concerned him.
"I always work hard, so to get the three points is great for us. We had to work really hard for that win.
"We were well prepared and we did our best today. At the end of the day I just want to work hard for the team, and if I improve I'm really satisfied."
What do you make of Lukaku's form for United, this season? Do you agree with Shearer's analysis or should the Belgian be contributing more?
Have your say in the comments section, below.
Featured Image Credit: PA