After such an impressive start to the 2021/22 campaign, Chelsea have had a bit of a slump lately.
This is not to say that they are overrated or rubbish or fraud. Each team goes through bad problems (which all managers emphasize at press conferences), and the Blues will eventually grow out of their funk.
But when they get the wheels of their title charge rolling again, it may be too late. Manchester City look unstoppable at the moment, and although Chelsea are now on a par with Liverpool, they do not have as much star quality.
However, the Reds will lose two key players in Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane to AFCON service next month, while the Blues will only have to deal with the loss of Edouard Mendy.
With the Premier League star player away and Liverpool greatly weakened at the top of the pitch, there is a window for Chelsea to re-advertise themselves in the title race and a star striker to make the headlines.
Romelu Lukaku will want to be the main character in both of these situations.
The Belgian turned the match in Chelsea’s favor during his 3-1 win over Aston Villa on the second day, bullied most of the four backs when he scored a goal and won a penalty to earn three key points.
It was without a doubt Lukaku’s best performance since returning to Stamford Bridge this summer, and after the Blues did quite well in his absence, he now needs to prove he was worth the £ 98 million his childhood club paid to sign him again.
Chelsea’s astonishing record with various goal scorers from across the pitch looked pretty untenable, and their lack of a killer touch has cost them the last month or so. But that run has been driven by some folklore lately.
The Blues have been plagued by a so-called striker curse ever since Roman Abramovich changed his fate overnight, with Didier Drogba and Diego Costa as the only midfielders worthy of success in the two decades that have followed.
Remarkably, Chelsea have not won a league title without one of these two leading the line (the closest they came was when Drogba was in rotation with Eidur Gudjohnsen and Mateja Kezman in Jose Mourinho’s debut campaign in west London). Lukaku has a chance to put his name in the club’s history by adding his name to that list.
After kicking Inter to Serie A glory last season, he has the experience the role requires, but he still has a vision to win on English beaches. Although he impressed for Everton and West Brom, he was overwhelming at Manchester United and has yet to live up to the hype at Chelsea.
A quick look at Lukaku’s social media channels will show you that he is in touch with football stories, and that he is a person who is confident in his own skin and loves Chelsea. Now it’s time to combine all these factors with goals to lead your title charge.
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