Evaluating Romelu Lukaku

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Manchester United have made a change this season regarding their first choice striker. Romelu Lukaku arrived at Old Trafford last summer in the club’s second most expensive transfer ever. A big price tag often makes a great pressure on a player that he must perform instantly.

It has been a road with highs and lows, there is no denying that. Lukaku has been exceptional at times, and then on some other occasions, he was poor. There were moments when he was heavily questioned, as his performances were not very good. And that is normal. The Belgian will always be under much scrutiny, which is expected when you are Manchester United’s number nine. But how has he fared so far this season?

Lukaku Is Producing Goals

We took a look at Lukaku’s numbers in the Premier League. We did not take Champions League matches into consideration as it is a different kind of competition and we wanted to see how he fared in the league where he was scoring plenty of goals for Everton in previous seasons.

First and foremost, Romelu Lukaku is producing goals. That is a fact. However, he is not producing them at a rate that Harry Kane does, or on the level that Mohamed Salah has reached since joining Liverpool. Lukaku scored 13 goals – 11 less than both Salah and Kane – in 2341 minutes. That is 26.01 full 90-minute matches played across 27 appearances. It brings us to Lukaku scoring 0.50 goals per 90 minutes.

That means he averages a goal every two matches and if he plays every minute until the end of the season scoring goals in the same rhythm, Lukaku will finish the campaign with around 18 goals to his name. That would be, looking at the club he plays for, be a decent enough result, if not underwhelming. He has been scoring much more for Everton, surpassing 20 goals mark with ease on few occasions.

This season, he has been having troubles getting into high quality chances. Lukaku has been making 2.92 shots per 90, which is not a huge number. He also made 47.36 percent of them go on target, which could be improved. The reason for some of these numbers is that Lukaku is not getting a great number of balls into the box and he often has to make headers. Those situations are something he might be good at, but are not of great quality. It is much harder scoring from them.

Get Lukaku Into Better Chances

This might sound too simplistic, but hear me out. Lukaku’s goal conversion is quite good at 17.1 percent. Almost every fifth of his shots becomes a goal and that must be used to United’s benefit. The players behind Lukaku must try and get the Belgian in more goal-scoring chances which will happen by a better attacking movement of the wingers and attacking midfielders, while also more creativity. Lukaku should not be target so much with crosses, but with chances from around the penalty spot.

If the players behind him do that properly, Lukaku will start scoring much more often. He might not be the racing type of striker, but his physicality will be enough for him to prevail.


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