Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku is reportedly injured, and missed last night’s victory over Juventus as a result. However, there is some doubt about just how injured he really is, and whether or not he is being given time out of the side to regain his confidence.
Lukaku started the season with some notable extra heft, and while he was never the lightest on his feet, he has seemed leaden-footed over the last two months, and blown some fairly easy chances. While not a world class striker last season, he nevertheless showed intelligent movement and the ability to get into the correct positions. This season, he has struggled - like much of the rest of the side - for fitness.
United have recently shown more fight, and scored more goals at the death of games. They have shown, if not a cutting edge, then a belief in their ability to go until the last minutes of a game. They have done that with Anthony Martial and Alexis Sanchez, and without Lukaku. Marcus Rashford, too, has popped up with some goals despite struggles of his own.
This weekend United have to face Manchester City, who are having a different kind of tough time. They are getting nailed for alleged corruption, which could have consequences with UEFA, the Premier League and the tax man in the coming months and years. That is unlikely to put them off their stride though, because obviously Spanish manager Pep Guardiola and his players knew of nothing untoward going on with regard to wages and other financial arrangements.
The question is whether Jose Mourinho wants to bring back his most expensive striker, or would prefer to stick with what works. Against John Stones, the battering ram of Lukaku might be handy, but Sanchez and Martial’s form suggest there’s no point. Please fill the comments with your valued opinions.