Chelsea record (re-)signing Romelu Lukaku has 8 goals in 25 appearances so far this season (1-in-3), which isn’t atrocious, but it’s below his career 1-in-2 strike rate, and certainly well below his rate for Inter Milan (2-in-3), his finishing school for “mastering all the facets” of strikership.
And things aren’t exactly going in the right direction. He has just 1 goal in his last 7 appearances, all starts, all since that infamous interview came out (for which he was fined and dropped for one game) — and that one goal came against non-league opposition. He’s often cut a frustrated figure, which isn’t helping the narrative, even if it might not have as much impact on the pitch as we’re often led to believe (see also: Hakim Ziyech).
Thomas Tuchel’s clearly determined to make things work with Lukaku, giving him all these starts — even at the apparent expense of the likes of Kai Havertz and Timo Werner, who have been reduced to occasional substitute appearances, and, unsurprisingly, showing plenty of rust as a result.
And as assistant Arno Michels revelead after this weekend’s match against Plymouth Argyle, we’re going to keep giving Lukaku these opportunities to help rebuild the trust and, hopefully, get him to play himself back into form.
“For him, maybe, it’s a little bit tough right now to score. He is working a lot for the team, doing a lot of touches, but is a little bit unlucky.
“We try to put him [on the pitch], give him opportunities, and we will keep on like this because he is an important player for us. He is a striker so therefore he also needs some trust in the moments he doesn’t score.”
-Arno Michels; source: Football.London
Our goal-scoring struggles this season were initially root-caused to us not using Lukaku “correctly”, but that analysis has now turned much more against the 28-year-old.
But regardless of who or what we blame for this — and we should remember that Lukaku boasted that he was very much the finished product after learning how to play with his back to goal under Conte at Inter, even — it’s an issue that needs to be resolved one way or another, be that with Lukaku scoring goals, Lukaku enabling others to score goals, or Lukaku taking a seat on the bench.