Last week, when queried about Romelu Lukaku’s success on loan to Everton this season, Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho replied, “It is one thing to play for Everton, another to play for Chelsea.”
But surely a goal against Manchester City is a goal against Manchester City, regardless of the team it’s scored from. Especially a brilliant solo effort that involves beating three defenders and the keeper, such as the one Lukaku registered over the weekend.
It’s true that Everton went on to rescind the early lead provided by the Belgian and lose the match. While Chelsea registered another win on the road at Norwich.
Indeed Chelsea looked in command for most of the match, doing what you’d expect them to do against a side like Norwich, that’s still struggling to find Premier League stability. But the fact is that yet again, Chelsea’s strike force came up short in front of goal. Lukaku, meanwhile, continued his one-man master class on how to score in the Premier League.
So far this season, none of Chelsea’s trio of strikers – Samuel Eto’o, Demba Ba, and Fernando Torres – has yet found the back of the net in League play. Only Torres has managed to score at all this season – once in Europe and once in a Capital One Cup outing.
Romelu Lukaku, meanwhile, has thus far notched four goals in seven matches for Everton.
The Belgian striker, who first signed for Chelsea in 2011 from Anderlecht and spent last season on loan with West Bromwich Albion, had previously indicated that it was he who requested to be sent out on loan again. But this week in an interview with the Belgian newspaper Het Niewsblad, he seemed to suggest that it was Mourinho’s decision, and that he was out to prove the Portuguese manager wrong.
“The coach decides and as a player you have to respect that,” said Lukaku. “I chose to leave and it’s up to me to prove the coach wrong.”
“The only thing I can do is play well and score a lot. And then I think people will say that I’m a good player. I want to score more goals than the strikers of Chelsea. We will see at the end of the season who made the best choice.”
Despite the apparent inability of Chelsea’s strike force to close the deal, the London club currently sits third in the table, two points behind joint leaders Liverpool and Arsenal and just ahead of fourth place Southampton on goals.
Everton are sitting in seventh place, two points behind Chelsea, in a tightly wound table with a mere six points separating Arsenal in first place from Aston Villa in tenth.
Chelsea owe much of their attacking success this season to their midfield, which bristles with goal threat in the likes of Eden Hazard, Oscar, Willian, and Frank Lampard. And while they’ve for the most part been able to conjure the goals necessary to achieve results, Chelsea fans must surely be casting their eyes north to Merseyside and thinking “if only” when comparing the prolific output of the Belgian to their current trio of misfiring superstars.
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