Manchester United Football Club have struggled in the early goings of the 2018/19 campaign, that much has been obvious.
Things don’t get any easier upon return following the international break. A trip to Chelsea will certainly test Jose Mourinho’s managerial prowess. He usually loves to get one over on the big boys. His opposite number, Maurizio Sarri, arguably has Eden Hazard playing the best football of his career. It’ll be an immense test for our porous defence.
In this article, though, I’d like to focus on the front man. Romelu Lukaku was great during his debut term as a Red Devil. However, he has been shaky, to say the least, over the last month or so. Do those struggles stem directly from the manager? Or is the big Belgian just going through a poor spell? Who knows…
The question I’d like to ask is this: Should the 25-year-old start the game at Stamford Bridge this Saturday lunchtime? Or should Lukaku be dropped?
Should Romelu Lukaku be benched this weekend? #mufc
— OldTraffordFaithful (@OTFaithful) October 18, 2018
In the Premier League, Lukaku has scored four goals. His best performance, by a country mile, came away at Burnley. His brace secured all three points. One goal came against Brighton & Hove Albion in the loss, while his other effort was against Watford in another excellent away victory.
Since then, the ex-Everton man has been woeful. Against Wolverhampton Wanderers, he looked like a blunt instrument. United then headed to West Ham United, I genuinely forgot Lukaku was playing. The Red Devils did manage to turn things round in their last game against Newcastle, with Lukaku playing the entirety of that match. He didn’t contribute to any of our three goals though…
United have options aplenty. Perhaps the most obvious one is Alexis Sanchez. The Chilean’s best years in England came when he was playing directly through the middle for Arsenal. He was deployed as a forward when he scored that brilliant header from off the subs bench last time out. That contribution certainly deserves to be rewarded, no?
Then you have everyone’s favourite, Anthony Martial. The Frenchman will start this weekend. However, I’m not sure whether it’ll be on the flank or up front. We all know he’s got the gift to lead the line, I’d argue he’s the best finisher at the club, too… I see his future as a left-winger, but if Mourinho wants to go for pace on the counter, this could be the option.
Finally, Marcus Rashford. He too, has been struggling of late. However, he was sublime against Spain for England. Confidence is booming, he will work hard, he will score goals. He also loves finding the back of the net on the big occasion. Just ask Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City; all of whom Rashford has scored winning goals against since making his debut a few years ago.
In summary, I think Lukaku is Mourinho’s new untouchable. Last season, from January onwards, it was Sanchez, a couple of years ago it was Wayne Rooney. Whatever happens, I think the £75million man plays. Whether I think that’s right is another matter entirely, but I seriously believe that dropping him is the move right now. At the very least, it’d re-ignite that fire in his belly. Let’s be honest, we’ve got some excellent replacements and, quite frankly, they can’t do any worse…
That’s not to say Lukaku isn’t an excellent player, I think he’s wonderful. Sometimes, though, when things aren’t going your way, it’s better to be removed from the limelight.