Romelu Lukaku’s £97.5m return to Chelsea has been nothing short of a rollercoaster ride, as no one knows when the next turnaround will come.
He appeared ready to lead Chelsea to the Premier League title after arriving from Inter Milan, scoring three goals in the most number of first-division matches, and harassing Arsenal’s lacking confidence in defence.
However, after four goalless matches in the Premier League, he suffered a sprained ankle that kept him out of six games in all competitions, before contracting the Corona virus shortly after.
Romelu Lukaku has scored only once in five matches against the “Big Six” teams this season
Thomas Tuchel says Lukaku needs a goal to get fans back on line after a surprise interview
But few could have imagined him admitting that he was unhappy under Thomas Tuchel and courted his former club in a surprise interview in Italy last month.
The Belgium striker, 28, was later brought down for a 2-2 draw with Liverpool amid the fallout from the interview, before he issued a bitter apology to the club’s fans earlier this week promising to restore confidence.
Not only did his omission against the Reds at the start of the month add to the hype around the incident, but it also made him miss an opportunity to improve on his mediocre scoring return against the so-called ‘Big Six’ in the Premier League.
Another opportunity presents itself on Saturday at lunchtime when the Blues travel to Premier League champions Manchester City, where the visitors desperately need a win to close the 10-point gap between them and league leaders Pep Guardiola.
Thomas Tuchel insists he and the club have moved on from meeting Lukaku and has indicated the Belgian needs to build on his goal against Chesterfield in the FA Cup third round to win the tour again.
So how likely is the stats to suggest that, and how did he perform against the top six teams, including City at Stamford Bridge in September? Sportsmail crunching numbers…
Lukaku’s performance for Inter Milan in their winning campaign in the Serie A 2020-2021 campaign gave the impression of a striker performing when his team needed it most.
The Belgian international scored a goal in each of the Milan derby last season, and scored against Juventus, Roma and Napoli once in a season of 24 goals in the Italian League.
However, his only goal against the “Big Six” after his return to the Premier League came in his first appearance in the Premier League for the Blues in a 2-0 win over Arsenal.
His performance at the Emirates Stadium – which saw him net the Blues’ first goal in their London derby victory – was undoubtedly that of a center forward.
Lukaku celebrated his return to Chelsea with a goal and dominated the show against Arsenal
Lukaku intimidated Arsenal defenders Rob Holding and Pablo Mari and made them mourn with his move, with both defenders ending the match with yellow cards in their name.
But arguably there hasn’t been much to shout about since then in the Premier League, save for a brace against Aston Villa in the next game. However, there was little excitement against the other upper parties in this country.
Liverpool have faced at Anfield, Manchester City at Stamford Bridge, Tottenham in north London and Manchester United at home since his brilliance at Arsenal, all without a net or an assist.
He should beware of the fact that there are extenuating circumstances in some of these formulations.
The Blues had to play in the second 45th minute against Jurgen Klopp’s men with ten men after Reece James was sent off, although some would argue that the Belgian looked more menacing after the break and was poor in the first half when his side had 11 players on the field. . .
Romelu Lukaku’s career record against clubs in the Premier League in the so-called ‘Big Six’
Moreover, he only came off the bench in the last eight minutes of his team’s 1-1 draw with his former club United in his first Premier League game since his ankle injury.
However, although the channels worked well, his best chance against Spurs was easily saved by Hugo Lloris in a match in which his side scored three goals, while almost unknown in their home defeat to City in September.
Regardless of his performance in those four matches, his scoring numbers against the “Big Six” were undoubtedly a success.
He has scored just 17 goals in more than 6000 minutes in 82 matches against such teams as Chelsea, West Brom, Everton and United.
His best scoring record is actually against Liverpool – which would have only added to the frustration of going down in that game this month – with five goals in 16 games against them.
Lukaku’s top scorer against Liverpool with five goals in 15 matches
His second best tally is four out of 15 against Saturday’s rival Man City, while he managed to make three cuts against Arsenal and Man United in 16 and 12 games respectively.
His worst record, somewhat surprisingly, comes against Tottenham, against whom he has scored only once in 13 matches, with minutes to the goal of nearly 1,000.
His lowest overall average per goal is 359 against the top six teams, which may not seem disastrous given the level of opposition he faced and the extenuating circumstances he faced, particularly this term.
But a comparison with teams outside of the ‘Big Six’ shows that he may have struggled on the big stage in England.
But in 183 matches against clubs outside the “Big Six”, Lukaku scored 101 goals for his clubs
In 183 games against 14 other teams in the league that season, he scored 103 goals, giving him the lowest goal average of 136.7. He managed only 6 assists against the “Big Six”, while this number rose to 29 against the other parties.
No doubt this comparison can’t be 100 percent error-proof given the huge difference in the number of games played against the “Big Six” and the rest of the league, but even doubling the previous numbers would make it very short. from the last.
Breaking down his stats for every game this season doesn’t mean more respect for his record against the best this country has to offer.
Again, few could see it when he managed eight shots, created three chances, and touched him 43 times and 11 times inside Arsenal’s territory upon his return to the club.
He was completely anonymous in the reverse game against Manchester City in September
But those numbers fell dramatically at Anfield, where he made only two shots and three touches inside the penalty area against Liverpool. And after a slight improvement at Spurs, he went down the slopes in front of City.
The Belgian failed to get any shot as Pep Guardiola completely dominated Chelsea for 90 minutes, managing only 21 touches, only four of which went inside the penalty area.
But Saturday offers a chance to make up, not just for his explosive encounter in Italy, but to prove that despite all the hype abroad, he can still deliver the best moments for the European champions.
Defeat at the Etihad could see Chelsea completely eliminated from the title race, but Lukaku could begin the journey to correct the record against the team he claimed rejected it in 2020.