Romelu Lukaku: A Potential Premier League Legend?

Romelu Lukaku is a success story. Once he moved to Everton, the Belgian showed why he was considered one of the hottest properties in football. Then, the forward went from potential to the real deal in Italy, where he notched 47 goals in 72 Serie A games for Inter Milan.

He’s succeeded everywhere he’s been, except for the top level of the Premier League. At Chelsea and Manchester United, Lukaku left a lot of questions unanswered. As a result, his status as an EPL legend isn’t quite yet secured. Now back at Stamford Bridge, and with valuable experience under his belt, he could easily rectify this situation and earn his status as a historic and formidable striker.

Score Plenty of Goals

Strikers will always be judged on the number of goals they score in their careers. Lukaku is by no means shy of the posts, but his current record doesn’t automatically qualify him as one of the greatest of all time. Compared to the likes of Wayne Rooney, Sergio Aguero and Alan Shearer, the Belgian is lightyears behind in terms of goals scored, so far.

However, that can all change within a couple of seasons. Lukaku is only 28 years old, so if he stays fit and remains in the EPL, his tally of 116 is bound to move towards at least the 150-mark. Even then, there’s no reason he can’t recreate the type of form that saw him find the net 64 times overall for Inter.

It’s clear there’s faith behind him: according to the football betting odds in the Premier League outright markets, bookmakers place Lukaku as the joint-favourite to end the season as the top goalscorer at 5/2 with Cristiano Ronaldo. In addition, Chelsea are hovering as second-favourites with odds of 13/5 to take the title, with Manchester City as the odds-on favourite, staked at 6/5 odds.

If Lukaku can prove himself and challenge the usual suspects for the top goalscorer mantle over the next couple of years, it will be hard to deny his EPL legacy.

Do It Against the Best

The only way people can say Lukaku isn’t a bonafide legend is by analysing his record against the biggest teams in England. Unfortunately, even Chelsea fans can’t hide from the fact that his figures are a little skewed. For example, of the 116 goals Lukaku’s netted in the Premier League, 99 of them have come against clubs outside of the top six.

Yes, 16 have been against the likes of Arsenal, Manchester United, Manchester City, and Liverpool. ‘Flat track bully’ is a harsh phrase to pigeonhole the Belgian with, because he’s achieved a lot in his short time as a footballer, yet it’s easy to see why fans and pundits are not entirely convinced about his homecoming. Should he turn up in the big games for the Blues season after season, the theory that he only scores against the smaller sides will be put to bed.

Claim Silverware

Something Lukaku will be desperate for is trophies. He hasn’t got anywhere near any major titles during his EPL days, which is another accusation that will go against him in the long run. Harry Kane is an excellent example of how this reputation as a trophy-less player can work against your favour.

Everyone in European football understands how good Kane is and comprehends that there’s even better to come, yet despite this awareness as to his ability, people are reluctant to class him as a legend simply because his cabinet is bare. England fans, especially, are desperate for this once-in-a-generation striker to move to serious sides like Manchester City or Real Madrid that can help him fulfil his potential.

Lukaku suffers from the same issue. However, winning Serie A with Inter last year will undoubtedly have boosted his confidence. Hopefully, Chelsea can do him a favour and go one better than their tag of strong second-favourites. Several people seem to think they can do what Liverpool did and successfully take on Manchester City, but only time will tell and as we all know, football is a remarkably fickle game.

What Do Chelsea Need To Do To Go On To Challenge For The Premier League Next Season?

In January this year, having spent £200 million in the summer, Chelsea seemed to be in reverse and didn’t look like there season was going to accumulate to anything. However, when club legend Frank Lampard was sack and Thomas Tuchel was brought in, their success was miraculously turned around and they ended up going on to win the Champions League which ultimately ensured that their season was a great success, but what do they need to do to go on to challenge for the Premier League title next season.

[Image: Football.London]

One of the main issues that Chelsea had this season was they didn’t have an out and out goalscorer. Timo Werner has taken his time to adjust to the Premier League, and Kai Havertz has only just started playing in the false 9 positions but having a goalscorer which guarantees goals would take them to the next level.  There has been rumours of players joining the club with Harry Kane and Erling Haaland have been tipped as the two players in which Chelsea have been looking at. Kane guarantees goals in the Premier League, having averaged 23 goals over the past 7 seasons, but with him being 27, this might be something that Chelsea will be aware of. Haaland on the other hand is 21 years old and has become one of the hottest properties on the market right now. However, Chelsea will be aware that the transfer fee and contract of Haaland will be astronomical.

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Another area in which Chelsea will know that they need to improve on if they are going to challenge for the Premier League title next season is at centre-back. Thiago Silva has been a great signing for them, especially with the leadership and expertise at the highest level, but he is aging, and the quality drop off after him is huge, so they need to create more depth in this position. Players that they should be looking at are Raphael Varane who is eyeing a move out of Real Madrid and Chelsea are currently 8/1 to sign the Frenchmen this summer.

Is Our End of Season Form Revealing Cracks at Stamford Bridge?

Source: Pixabay

Things couldn’t have been going any smoother since Thomas Tuchel took charge at the end of January. Under the German’s stewardship, we built on the foundations put in place by Frank Lampard and went from strength to strength. We even managed to take on Man City in the league and FA Cup and beat them comprehensively.

Sadly, the bubble has burst a little bit after losing the FA Cup final to Leicester and stumbling over the line in the final stages of our quest for the top four. With the 2021/22 season only months away, will The Blues be title contenders like everyone assumed weeks ago, or will it harder than fans and pundits believe?

A Full Pre-Season (Sort of)  

Tuchel has had less than six months to mould the team into his image, and he and his staff have done incredible things in a short period. The thing that makes this even more exciting for Chelsea fans is that we understand what he can do with a full pre-season ahead of him where the players can learn about his managerial style.

In many ways, he’ll have that because he will be able to plan ahead of 2021/22 with a solid base. After all, the gaffer should have enough cash to spend to bolster the squad in much-needed areas, like the centre of the defence. However, on the other side, we’re a side of world-class internationals, the majority of whom will spend the summer on international duty.

Every club will have the same problem, yet the fact that Tuchel doesn’t know his squad as well as the likes of Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp, both of whom will inevitably dip into the transfer market, could backfire on us.

Less Competition  

The Premier League prides itself on being the most competitive domestic tournament in the world, which it has been on many occasions. But 2020/21 highlighted how several clubs have taken a backwards step, including Tottenham, Arsenal and Liverpool. Okay, Liverpool are expected to bounce back immediately, yet Spurs and Arsenal are in rebuilding phases.

Even Manchester United are missing pieces that will enable them to challenge City for the EPL trophy, and if they don’t invest well, which they haven’t recently, they could tumble down the pecking order.

For Chelsea, this presents an incredible opportunity to push on and turn the good work under Tuchel into silverware.  At 5/1 in the Premier League betting stakes, the bookies seem to agree that this current Chelsea squad should benefit from a lack of competition now that the top six is morphing back into a top-four.

Riding a Wave  

Confidence in football is all about momentum, and we have the biggest chance to turn the tide in our favour by beating Man City in the final of the Champions League final. Sure, we’re considered the 7/4 outsiders since Pep Guardiola’s men have been outstanding after losing to Leicester early on in the season.

Still, it’s only a two-horse race, so it’s not as if we can’t prove everyone wrong. We’ve already done it and have the wood over City as a result, meaning they’ll feel the pressure not to lose to us again. Of course, if we don’t lift Ol’ Big Ears, the guys could be deflated heading into the new campaign as their confidence levels will be at rock bottom.

There’s a lot to be positive about regarding Chelsea moving forward under a top-quality manager such as Tuchel. However, we can’t deny we’ve been poor recently and losing the Champions League could intensify matters.

Let’s see what happens and hope that we turn up to the final game of the season while also investing smartly in the transfer market and giving our boys time to react to a new way of working.

Still Only 22, Mason Mount Already Feels Like Chelsea’s Old Reliable

Mason Mount’s superbly-taken strike against Liverpool at Anfield was his third goal in five Premier League games and lifted Chelsea back into the top four, drawing praise from fans and pundits alike. A vital cog in the Chelsea youth movement under former coach Frank Lampard, Mount now has critics everywhere acknowledging him as one of the Blues’ key contributors.

 

Although many saw Thomas Tuchel’s appointment as a power move by chairman Roman Abramovich to get big-money signings and fellow Germans Timo Werner and Kai Havertz firing on all cylinders, arguably Mount has been the standout of the former PSG boss’ early tenure at Stamford Bridge. A constant presence in Tuchel’s starting XI since taking over, Mount has rewarded the new manager’s faith in him with a string of stellar performances.

 

Mount’s contributions mean Chelsea are now fancied to finish comfortably in the top four, 4/9 in the Premier League betting markets after the Liverpool win at the beginning of March. Their quest for more Champions League football has been boosted by the stunning collapse of Liverpool out of both the title and top four races – their loss to Tuchel’s men was an unbelievable fifth straight at Anfield – while frequent European position challengers Leicester City have also been struck down with unfortunate injuries to key players and no longer show the form with which they started the season so brightly. Chelsea’s recent top four track record and European experience compared to other top four challengers Everton and West Ham is reflected in bookmakers’ confidence in the Blues to see out the job.

 

A rare constant in an ever-shifting Blues’ starting eleven as Tuchel tries to figure out his best team, Mount is already one of the first names on the team sheet despite his young age at 22. This season Mount has proved he can do it all – play in a deeper role linking play from the defence, both for England and against possession-heavy sides like Atletico Madrid in the Champions League, while playing further forward to provide service to strikers Werner and Olivier Giroud in games against smaller teams in the Premier League.

 

Surely England manager Gareth Southgate sees him as a certain inclusion for the Euro 2021 squad this summer? While his competition is fierce for the midfield places supporting Harry Kane, Mount has already shown this season he can fit into different systems and positions and fulfil a number of roles, the kind of flexibility international managers love to have in their squads for major competitions. If Mount continues this form – and especially the goal-scoring – into the Premier League run-in, he could be competing for a starting place when England open their tournament against Croatia at Wembley on the 13th June.

 

As Blues fans adjust to the new era, it’s looking like ‘Tuchelball’ will be characterised as much by the resurgence of players like Mount as it will by Tuchel’s stingy defence. Chelsea went unbeaten in Tuchel’s first ten games in charge, scoring eleven goals and conceding only twice.

Mixed feelings about Chelsea’s chances of winning the Premier League

The excellent run of results and form enjoyed by Chelsea is generating plenty of debate. After coming back from behind to produce a classy display against Leeds United, the 3-1 final score didn’t flatter Frank Lampard’s team, who could, and probably should, have won by a much bigger margin at Stamford Bridge.

As the Premier League table begins to take shape at the top, Chelsea are very much in the mix, having lost just one game. Interestingly, that one game was against reigning champions Liverpool in the second game of the season, yet Jurgen Klopp refuses to dismiss the Blues as potentially being the biggest rivals for his team.

After they briefly topped the Premier League table, Chelsea “look like the favourites” according to Klopp, in comments highlighted by the Daily Mail. “They have the bigger squad, great players, they’re playing well,” observed the German coach, suggesting that Lampard has a much better pool of talent available to him this season.

Regardless of what could simply be mind-games by the Liverpool boss, his team currently remain outright Premier League football betting favourites at 7/4 odds. Likewise, Manchester City are priced at 2/1 odds and are still considered the strongest contenders. Meanwhile, odds for Chelsea at 5/1 reflect their excellent recent form and consistency.

Having qualified for the next phase of the Champions League as Group E leaders, thanks to an emphatic 0-4 away win in Spain against Sevilla, the focus for Chelsea over the next couple of months can turn entirely to their domestic commitments. Buoyed by the confidence that seems to ooze from Lampard’s men of late, it’s hard to doubt their credentials as Premier League contenders.

Nevertheless, there are some who believe the Blues will eventually lose momentum. “Chelsea are probably the third-best team in England,” says Owen Hargreaves in thoughts noted by Metro. “I don’t think they’re good enough or consistent enough to compete,” he suggested, certain the Blues will not finish above Liverpool or Manchester City.

“I don’t think it will even be close,” insisted Hargreaves, who simply feels that Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola have much stronger squads, along with the experience and staying power to challenge for the Premier League title. The former Bayern Munich and Manchester United player did admit to admiring Lampard, and the team he is building. However, he just doesn’t see Chelsea as genuine contenders yet.

While the team’s chances of competing for the Premier League still remain up for debate, Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville has absolutely no doubts about the coaching ability of Lampard praising the tactical understanding of his former England colleague. Neville praised how well Chelsea contained Tottenham Hotspur during their 0-0 draw at the end of November, nullifying the attacking threats posed by Jose Mourinho’s team.

Given that Chelsea and Lampard are generating so many talking points, both the team and the manager are being taken very seriously. Opinions may still remain mixed, although it’s fair to say the Blues will definitely be there, or thereabouts, come the end of the campaign. If the recent form can be maintained, this could yet be a memorable season rewarded with silverware.