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Romelu Lukaku began life at Old Trafford on a high as Manchester United unleashed an onslaught on Premier League oppositions. The engrossing start saw the Belgian score 11 goals in 11 starts, seven of which guided United to top of the Premier League table.
The striker has however been uncharacteristically tame in recent weeks, triggering an undercurrent of worry among fans with a goal drought that has stretched for seven games in all competitions.
Jose Mourinho has for time without number assured supporters of his satisfaction with the 24-year old, but the media has made it a point to demean the striker in relation to his £75m tag; turning a blind eye on the fact that Alvaro Morata had a goal drought for two months prior to his winner against Manchester United right before the international break.
Lukaku’s blistering form may have fizzled out, but it shouldn’t be a cause for concern.
Feeding off scraps
In truth, Romelu has been struggling to find his feet due to United’s lackluster performance in recent weeks. The striker has been feeding off scraps since the enforced absence of Paul Pogba- a telltale sign of how United’s attacking creativity is built around the Frenchman.
Pogba sustained a hamstring injury during the Champions League win over Basel in September, one that has seen him sidelined since. His absence was however hardly noticeable until Marouane Fellaini suffered injury to his knee ligaments.
The absence of the midfield duo and the introduction of Ander Herrera alongside Nemanja Matic brought with it lack of penetration, with Jose Mourinho’s charges handicapped in exposing teams in behind.
Lukaku has essentially been feeding off scraps for tactical reasons as much as it has been for lack of creativity.
Romelu Lukaku has amassed a wealth of experience in the English game for a player who is still on his burgeoning stage. This has earned him a place as an indispensable figure in Mourinho’s plans, despite misplacing his goal scoring boots.
One of the mainstay reasons for his decline has been Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s lackadaisical performance- placing further emphasis of just how the current United team is set up on the individual brilliance of one Paul Pogba.
All strikers occasionally go through a goal drought phase, but the international break presents the best opportunity for the Belgian to build up a head of steam ahead of Pogba’s injury return.
Written by Brian Humphrey
Follow Brian on Twitter @brihum
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