Romelu Lukaku | Match Discussion thread 2017/18

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O-Dog

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Lukaku does seen to be a flat track bully. Maybe keep him for the easier games/sub and use Rashford or Sanchez as CF when playing 433.
 

Mr C

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I think he needs to be dropped and play Rashford. He needs to know more is expected of him. A front 3 of Martial Rashford and Sanchez has potential.
 

jsp

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I mean before Spurs he'd scored 3 in 4 games and he played well against Burnley setting up the Martial goal.

He's just a flat track bully I think we might be better off with Sanchez or Rashford up top in big games away from home but against the other 14 teams home and away he should start as we bought him to score against those teams, we needed a flat track bully because last season our league form was terrible against the weaker sides.
 

maxt7

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When your not getting the service, which to be fair to Rom he isn't, then there are different ways to react. There's the finger pointing and moaning thing that his done quite a bit of already in his United career. Or there's the roll your sleeves up get yourself involved attitude. That's what his not doing.

Its too obvious to point out that Kane was varying his movement and showcasing his abilities so much more then Rom on Wednesday. Holding the ball up. Running in behind. Winning headers. Pulling on the flank. Rom just does that same movement, where he wants to be slipped in between center backs all the time. So the question is what type of striker have we got here? His not clinical enough to be a poacher. His got no first touch or hold up play to be a target man. His got pace once his up and moving yes, but his not got that lighting acceleration that takes him away from a defender.

I dont think dropping him is going to help. We need to start playing to his strengths and get him firing again, while working on other parts of his game behind the scenes on the training ground. I'd suggest dropping Martial who was toilet the other right, Put Young at right wing, Shaw at left back, Alexis on the left of midfield, and get crosses and balls into the box for Rom. Before people spit their tea out i'm not saying Long term this is the answer. But against teams that sit deep like Hudderfield and Newcastle it might be the ideal way to get the big man firing and confidence back in his game. A confident number 9 makes a world of difference probably more then any other position. We need to get him back in the groove.
 

jsp

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This is the thing we don't know what he's being asked to do by the manager. Mourinho for all we know has told him to stand up front and wait for the ball don't come deep and try and get on the ball because he doesn't have the skills to do that just stand there and wait for the chances might be what he's told to do for all we know. The last thing I want to see is Lukaku going all Rooney and dropping into midfield he doesn't belong in there and doesn't have the skill set to do that false 9 type thing.

As for his poaching skills just done a quick search in terms of shooting accuracy of players this season in the league.

Lukaku 66 shots 59% accuracy goals 11
Kane 141 shots 56% accuracy goals 21
Aguero 76 shots 54% accuracy goals 16
Morata 56 shots 55% accuracy goals 9
Firmino 59 shots 59% accuracy goals 10
Lacazette 52 games 71% accuracy goals 8

What seperates Lukaku from a guy like Kane & Aguero is these two take a lot more long or speculative shots which is why their number of shots & goals is higher and accuracy slightly lower. Lukaku is a bit like Van Nistelrooy very rarely shoots from outside the box and most of his goals are headers, or one or two touch finishes in the box.

For me Lukaku is a poacher or a finisher whatever you want to call him he needs others to create the chances for him and he hasn't had a Beckham like Ruud did feeding him quality balls.

Sanchez gives us that something a bit different and Rashford has it as well where he's happy taking shots from outside the box and taking on shots from risky positions.
 

Mr C

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it's not just the goals, he doesn't seem to score in the big matches, he goes missing. Also look what Kane and Aguero bring with them. I can't see Mourinho telling him to be static really. And if that is his game drop him for the big games really.

I was worried when we bought, he then went on fire and I thought he would prove me wrong, now I'm worried again. I'm not sure he is good enough
 

maxt7

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I dont want him to come deep either and i'm not suggesting he does either. However there's times in games when your sides up against it that he needs to come closer and hold the ball up, relief the pressure on the side and win fouls. None of us know what Jose says or doesn't say to him but as a lone striker he needs to be in the game much more then he is. That doesn't make him a false 9 doing that. Its part and parcel of leading a line on your own. Working and moving as many defenders and possible to create chances for yourself and others.

He may have a 59% shot accuracy but we have all spoken on here before that he isn't clinical and he has missed big chances. And there two ways of looking at the number of shots his had. Your way that maybe his not taking speculative or long range shots true. Or maybe simply that his just not evolved in the game anywhere near as much as the others are at their respected clubs. Which his not. His easily marked at times and taken out of the match by better center backs. Even Lovern pocketed him at Anfield and that guy is awful.

So for me we need crosses into him. Get Sanchez closer to him. And build on his other aspects of his game away from the spotlight.
 

jsp

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it's not just the goals, he doesn't seem to score in the big matches, he goes missing. Also look what Kane and Aguero bring with them. I can't see Mourinho telling him to be static really. And if that is his game drop him for the big games really.

I was worried when we bought, he then went on fire and I thought he would prove me wrong, now I'm worried again. I'm not sure he is good enough
I think Mourinho likes his striker to stay up top he doesn't like his striker coming deep he's always had that target point to the attack, the only striker I think has had that luxury with him is Zlatan at Inter and then again at Utd, possibly Benzema at Madrid.

I think maybe he hoped he could make Lukaku do the battling that he likes from his striker and bully opposition centre backs physically he's got the attributes but I don't think mentally he's wired that way. He's a nice guy he's not a bad guy that aggression and in the case of Costa violence isn't something that can be taught you either have that or you don't. Kane has it in bundles he should've been sent off at least twice this season and in most games he should be booked for persistent fouling and Aguero is a nasty piece of work as well doesn't mind chucking in the odd 2 footer.

I don't know if we will stick with him long term but I think he'll be given the season but for me the tactics are wrong for him he can't hold the ball up so we either shouldn't play him when we want someone to do that or we have to play a different way and try to keep the ball better and bring it up to him.

As I've said he needs others to make chances for him in the big games he's only getting 1 chance in every game and so far none of them have gone in, I think if he fails to perform in the remaining big games we might see a change in tactic next season. He's not going anywhere as we'll never get another club to pay £75m for him but if he doesn't put the numbers we need up we will end up buying someone else to replace him.
 

Mr C

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I don't think he needs to come deep, just move and hold the ball up when needed. He never seems in the right place in the big games.
 

Edgy1968

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My issue with Rom is that he seems to always score the 3rd or 4th goal in routs when there is no pressure on the finish, if you get his stats up for goals against the top 6, he will be in the bottom 3 against all strikers in the league! When the pressure is on and we need a performance he goes missing, the evidence of this is overwhelming.

Scoring the 4th goal and Yeovil and the 4th goal at Swansea is all good and well for his stats but for me they massively paper over the cracks, he never turns up when it matters, which is fine for Everton but for United, you won't last long if your not performing in the games that matter.
 

Mr C

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exactly, Hughes, Cantona, Ruud, Ronaldo, Yorke, Cole, Ole etc etc all scored crucial goals. Lukaku scores when we don't really need a goal.

We need players who can win that tight game and he's not stepped up yet.
 

jsp

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I think the whole team needs to carry the can for the way they play against the big teams apart from De Gea, very few of our boys step up in big games the only one who I think does it regularly are Valencia, Pogba & Lingard. Pogba was poor against Spurs the other night but that was the first league game he'd lost in a Utd shirt in 36 and he was excellant in both League & Europa League finals.

You can pin it on the striker when the defence is a shambles in big games getting bailed out by the keeper and apart from 2 or 3 players no one including Lukaku can keep the ball when put under pressure. Again Valencia & Pogba are the only 2 players who don't poo themselves when an opposition player comes near them.

Lukaku I think is an easy target at the moment because he hasn't scored in a big game yet for Utd apart from the Super Cup.

I think he's got big limitations as a player and maybe we could have gone for an Aubameyang all rounder type in the summer but we all know he's got baggage. The one I think Jose would really want would have been Cavani but not sure the board would've tried to go for him as it would be £90m for a guy who's 28-29. I mean I don't know how the relationship ended with Diego Costa but he'd have been perfect but get the impression that by the end him and Jose were not on talking terms.
 

Sideshow Bob

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Premier League: Manchester United 2-0 Huddersfield Town - 3rd February 2018

 

bludsucker

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Excellent finish that. Though I got to say he was largely anonymous throughout the game.
 

JSNFRMN

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Good to see him score again. Didn't see the game but I read that when he went off we had a front 3 of Rashford Martial and Sanchez in a 4-3-3, how did that go? Something i'd like to see more of especially when we're playing the big teams.
 

Sideshow Bob

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exactly, Hughes, Cantona, Ruud, Ronaldo, Yorke, Cole, Ole etc etc all scored crucial goals. Lukaku scores when we don't really need a goal.

We need players who can win that tight game and he's not stepped up yet.
It's unfair to compare Lukaku to the likes of Hughes, Cantona, Van Nistelrooy, Ronaldo, Yorke, Cole and Solskjaer at this stage. The aforementioned players spent multiple seasons at the club. I'm by no means Lukaku's biggest fan, but 19 goals (1 in 2) in his first season at the age of 24 is a decent return.
 

JSNFRMN

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His goal return considering we don't really have a crosser in the starting lineup is very good. A lot of his goals recently have come from crosses but we don't get them in enough and when we do they're often poor crosses. Our full backs need to do better.
 

Red Warrior

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How many crucial goals has Lukaku scored? He seems to score the 3rd or 4th goal in a rout. Never a winner. Never that winning goal in a 1-0 win. It's always a consolation goal.
 

Sideshow Bob

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Breakdown of his goals:

He has scored United's first goal on 8 occasions.
The second goal on 5 occasions.
Third goal on 3 occasions.
Fourth goal on 3 occasions.

13 of his 19 goals have either been the first or second goal.
 

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Don't get me wrong, he does need to improve but he's not been bad. He started really well and when Pogba was out, the whole team struggled and chances became less and in that period he lost his confidence as did a few other attackers, one of which has just left.

When he's facing the goal he's a big threat but in the big games when he's got his back to goal and is more isolated he really struggles. He really needs to improve on that.

Last season we really lacked a flat track bully and drew a lot of games at home to teams like Huddersfield.
 

Mr C

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Garth Crooks and Kilbane on final score said Lukaku has been awful, he needs hooking off, literally 1 minute later he scored :-D Crooks talks so much nonsense.

Mind you, I do think Lukaku should be hooked at some point like he did with Pogba. Let him know the standards required.
 

jsp

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I think he's doing fine by the standards strikers were judged at 10 years ago he's got the 1 in 2 average and Saturday showed the sort of damage he can do if you put in good early crosses, his recent goals have kind of shown you what you get from a striker like him two very good close range finishes on low crosses vs Huddersfield and Yeovil and 2 finishes in the box vs Derby & Stoke where he held off defenders and smashed it past the keeper. He's never going to give you a long range screamer or beat 2 or 3 men and dink the keeper that just isn't his game and now he's 24 he's been playing for 7 or 8 seasons it's unlikely he'll change.

The thing is the world has changed Messi & Ronaldo have rewritten the stats and now the top strikers are expected to go much closer to a goal a game as an average and Lukaku has never put up those numbers. If you don't deliver those numbers you need to be offering something else which he doesn't really offer for example Benzema who gets a lot of criticism for his strike rate is a fantastic link up player.

Sanchez I think could give us that player who can pull off the "impossible" and go at almost a goal a game from the wing plus I think Lukaku can benefit from him being in the team as one thing Sanchez looks to do is play quick balls if Lukaku can get on the same wavelength and make his moves earlier expecting the ball Sanchez could create a lot of chances for him as that chipped ball in behind only needs to come off once for you to be one vs one with the keeper which is where Lukaku gets most of his goals.

Jose showed at the weekend that a big name can be benched at Utd it will be interesting to see with Sanchez now on the scene will that mean Lukaku could be on the bench in a big game because of the way we play we maybe need a guy with more energy up top.
 

Red Warrior

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It's simple, feed the guy crosses and thru balls and he will score, he's a poacher like @jsp said. We currently have nobody crossing the ball for him really, not a great deal of creativity coming from midfield and Martial likes to cut in himself and shoot. He's actually done quite well scoring as many as he has. He's not my favourite player, I know he has the first touch of a donkey sometimes and he is clumsy but get balls put into the 6 yard area and he will score, like he did on Saturday. We've got Sanchez now who can create, cross and shoot from distance so things will hopefully get better for him.

Also it is his first season at Englands biggest club, he's actually settled in well. If we sort the midfield out in the summer and we have better service he'll be banging them in for sure.
 

Edgy1968

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Two of my mates have a bet on, one who is a fan, thinks he will score against a top 6 side before the season is out, the other doesn't think he will score against any of them, he has Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal home and City away left, what we thinking? The bet is £50 haha
 

Mr C

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if he doesn't score in any of those then you have to question him.

He has to got to score for me, I think the non fan is on a loser.
 

jsp

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I think he will probably get one at home to one of those sides as you'd hope Utd will be more on the front foot and creating chances for him in these games.

The thing for me that he needs to add to his game if he wants to move up to that next level is he must start creating more chances for himself either by using his physical attributes like his speed, height and strength to bully defenders into making mistakes or tighten up his technical skills so he can create shooting opportunities in tight spots which for him is going to be hard to do because he's so big.

If he doesn't do that then I can easily see him being replaced as the number 1 in the summer Arsenal didn't mess about with Lacazette, Chelsea got themselves an insurance policy on Morata I can see Utd possibly doing the same either by giving one of the current crop more chances as the centre forward or by bringing someone else in.

Mourinho has given Lukaku a lot of rope this season and I think he's stood up for him a lot in the press but his patience will only stretch so far you wonder if he's having to be nice to him because his best mate is Pogba and they also share and agent.

I think it's fair to say Lukaku is hitting the minimum targets expected of a Utd number 9 but with a £75m price tag and £250k a week wages you will be judged against the worlds best and so far he doesn't look to be in that class because he can't influence the big games without his team providing him the chances.
 

Edgy1968

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The big one will be in Europe, how many times do you see the top strikers/players at big European clubs get their teams big away goals or lifelines in big ties, at the end of the day that is what he will be judged at, its all good and well saying "you need to put it on a plate for him to score, he is a poacher, he will score from crosses etc" but as much as people might not want to compare him to the big boys in Europe and the likes of Kane domestically, they are who set the benchmark, he has said for two years he wants to move up a level, play in the big competitions at the business end, he now has this, and he has to perform.

He is Man United's main striker, our top striker, he needs to now step up against your Barca/Madrid/Munich/PSG because if he doesn't, its not enough to score against your Huddersfields and Bournemouths of this world, you need to do it in the big games at the big moments, if he can't it wont be long before someone is brought in who can.
 

Red Warrior

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To be fair I don't think I have ever seen him shoot, it's always tap ins and headers. Maybe he needs to get into more positions to unleash a shot. Surely the club see him going missing a lot in games and the coaches will be trying to help him with that.

@Edgy1968 I think he will score one against the big 6 before the season ends but if you ask me to put £50 on it I don't think I would be too confident then haha
 

jsp

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Yep big strikers are judged by what they do in the big matches for example Drogba didn't really have a great scoring record vs the weaker sides in the league he didn't really pad out his stats like some strikers do banging 4 in vs relegation fodder but you knew when it really mattered he was the man to go with. I think in terms of a guy who delivered in big games he might be the best striker in the PL era for doing that.

It's pretty clear Lukaku is the opposite of that he is a flat track bully and he was that way with Everton and based on last season we needed a guy who could do that but without Zlatan we also needed a guy we could rely on in big games. You wonder why Rashford hasn't had that chance in big games as his record in big matches is actually pretty good as these are often the games where he's got space to run in behind but when you've spent £75m on a striker you can't not play him in big games. Hard to sell it to the public that our big name number 9 has been signed to score against Brighton & Bournemouth rather than Chelsea & City.

I guess the hope was that with a better team around him he'd be able to influence the bigger games more as we'd actually create chances for him rather than just pump long balls to him like Everton did when they played against top sides but we haven't really done that.

I feel it's a bit of an issue for both sides to resolve the team need to better at creating chances for him but they also need him to work a bit harder up top to help them get up the pitch. Top players can make a bad ball into a good ball by forcing a defender into making a mistake for me it's way to easy to play against Lukaku when we are going direct because if it's not straight at him he's not interested and even if it is straight to him you can put him under pressure and he'll lose it.

Whenever we played Everton I always felt he was a player who at Goodison gave us a tough time but when he came to Old Trafford you hardly heard of him, I rememer going to a game under LVG where Rojo & I think McNair snuffed him out for the entire game. Everton were going direct to him as Utd had them penned in with our possession and he couldn't make anything stick.
 

Sideshow Bob

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Mourinho has done him no favours in big games. He has been left very isolated. He had the support of Martial and Lingard against Arsenal and played well. He had players closer to him.
 

Mr C

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That's true to Bob, but I want to see him working harder. There have been a few times in the big games where he has fluffed his lines, top strikers can bury that one chance they have.

Maybe he just needs a break.
 

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Premier League: Newcastle United 1-0 Manchester United - 11th February 2018

He played well. He was let down by his team mates.
 

maxt7

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Agree with you there.

I'd be venting in that changing room if I was him. The best performance he's had in a United shirt and got no reward for it.
 

jsp

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Good performance put himself up against the CBs and battled, linked the play well, put in in the net but probably rightfully ruled out for a push and only really had one good chance where it was cut back and he didn’t really catch it.

Think having the two wide players up with him really helped him.
 
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