Although Manchester United put four goals past Watford last night, Romelu Lukaku was once again absent from the scoresheet.
Lukaku’s goalscoring form has been a concern for United since early October. With it now almost being December, a blip has developed into a long-term slump.
As Rio Ferdinand acknowledged on BT Sport post-match however, it’s not all bad on the performance front for the Belgian, who provided an assist for Anthony Martial in the 4-2 win. This places the role of Lukaku in a quandary – are assists good enough for a striker that cost £75m?
The player himself won’t think so, per the ex-Red Devil duo of Ferdinand and Paul Scholes.
“One hundred percent [he’s frustrated]. He’ll be in that dressing room now going ‘Oh my gosh, what’s happened? We’ve scored four again and I’ve not scored”, Ferdinand told the panel. “Strikers live and die by scoring goals”.
While Ferdinand tried to convey Lukaku’s thoughts, Scholes focused on what his teammates should be saying to the 24-year-old.
“There were a few instances where Pogba was playing short passes and he was coming back into midfield – where you don’t want him”, Scholes stated.
“I think he needs more direction from his midfield players. Say ‘get out of the way, get up there on the shoulder, get into areas where I can hit you. You’re no good to me coming back as a number ten’. Though he was good tonight, setting up goals.”
Two factors cited as central to Lukaku’s issues were the absence of Pogba, and the presence of an out-of-form Henrikh Mkhitaryan. With both of those resolved in recent games, and the dry spell still in place, Jermaine Jenas felt that the revised 3-5-2/3-4-3 system aided Lukaku’s cause in contributing to the game.
“I felt like he got into better areas today, I felt like the formation set up really suited him”.
With Arsenal and Manchester City next up for Jose Mourinho’s side, there’s no better time for the former Everton star to return to free-scoring form.