Romelu Lukaku scored the only goal in Manchester United’s midweek victory over Bournemouth (1-0), ending his goal drought after Juan Mata’s assist. This was Belgian’s first Premier League goal since the 4-0 win against Crystal Palace and it was good seeing him back on the scoresheet.
Still, many fans feel United’s number 9 is not doing enough for a player signed for around £75m. The match against Bournemouth came after Lukaku’s terrible display in the Manchester Derby and it was expected to hear some displeasured voices regarding his performances.
But how good or bad is Lukaku doing against fellow ‘Big 6’ sides? Manchester United played against every of the other five teams, beating Tottenham and Arsenal, drawing against Liverpool and losing to Manchester City and Chelsea. How has Lukaku fared during those matches?
Romelu Lukaku Shoots On Target Every Two And A Half Hours
Belgian striker played every of the 450 minutes in those five matches and his output has been dismal. Lukaku did not score a single goal, making one assist in the process. That was the header for Anthony Martial prior to the Frenchman scoring the only goal of the match against Tottenham.
All other sides from the ‘Big 6′ have at least one striker which scored at least one goal against Premier League’s biggest sides. Gabriel Jesus and Mohamed Salah scored three, while Harry Kane, Alexandre Lacazette, Sergio Aguero have scored two. All of these players also have one assist each next to their name. Only Alvaro Morata scored one goal in the process.
And while it is true Lukaku should not be measured strictly against other teams’ strikers, due to playing for a different club in a different system with different teammates, Lukaku’s numbers are not good at all.
However, when get a better stare at all of his numbers this season, we can see the things are even worse. During 450 minutes of football, Romelu Lukaku had six shots – not one against Arsenal – while three of them went on target. That is one shot on target on every 150 minutes (two and a half hours) on the pitch. No wonder he is not scoring…
Passing, Duels, Lack Of Support
Lukaku also completed a whole of 49 passes in the process, less than ten passes per match. To put things completely in perspective, these 49 passes came from 90 attempts, which is horrific 54 percent. Anyone with less than 70 is doing badly.
However, this was also affected by Jose Mourinho’s tactics in these matches. United usually played defensively, relying on counter-attacks. Even against Arsenal when they scored three goals, United were mostly defending.
Lukaku was also often without a real help around him. That is why he had a hand 77 duels in these five matches – more than 15 per match – winning 39 of them. Against Gunners his good movement offered a lot of space for Martial and Jesse Lingard. In other matches, however, we could see Lukaku struggling.
Against Man City, he was unable to score a sitter from six yards. His confidence thus really got to a new low. That is why his match-winning goal against Cherries could prove crucial. Every striker needs to score goals regularly and he might be getting back to those days. Yet, both Manchester United and Romelu Lukaku need to find a way of exploiting his qualities against the best English sides.