Monday, 14 August 2017

How to solve a problem like Romelu: Lukaku the perfect player for United's counter-attacking style

Zlatan Ibrahimovic brought an aura and a superstar presence to the United attack but Romelu Lukaku fits the bill far better than the Swede. 

Ibrahimovic would have reached 30 goals last season if not for that cruel knee injury, but he was a player on a victory lap looking for one last hurrah before the end of a magnificent career.

Even though he won games on his own at times, he also missed many other gilt-edged chances that would have made a decisive difference as United drew 15 games that they should have won. 

Zlatan's lack of pace, coupled with his ability at connecting with headers in the box, often encouraged United to slow the game down and adopt a long ball approach to play to his strengths.

At times it was effective and the man was an enigmatic genius, but Mourinho bought him as an marquee statement signing - he was never going to be the long term striking option we needed.

In Romelu Lukaku, however, we have that player.

Still only 24, the Belgian is into his sixth season as a proven Premier League striker and he looks set to lead the line for United for years to come.

A consistent challenger for the Golden Boot award, Lukaku has three goals in two competitive outings for the Reds already and should he stay fit there's no reason why he can't equal - or even surpass - Ibra's tally from last season. 

His two goals against West Ham were typical of the big Belgian: the first a ball in behind that he finished with aplomb and the second a powerful header from close range.

A large element of Jose's successful sides during his career has been his ability to mould a team into a swift, fluid counter-attacking unit.

The boss didn't have the personnel to implement that during his first season in charge at United - as already mentioned, the presence of Ibra and lack of balance in midfield meant the desire for a more measured and patient approach.

Lukaku is the perfect man to spearhead such a side as his movement, ability and pace with the ball at his feet will allow quicker build up and the preference for a first time pass. 

At his best when running on to a ball in behind the defence, Lukaku tore West Ham apart on Sunday in tandem with the raw pace of Marcus Rashford.

Our attack has a greater threat already on a day when Lukaku - and United - hinted at a sign of things to come.

1 comment:

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