With Zlatan Ibrahimovic out injured for a lengthy period, Manchester United had to sign a new striker who could fit into the boots of the big Swede for the current season. And for the longest time, everyone thought that United would be signing Real Madrid outcast, Alvaro Morata. But come the new season, Morata is playing for Chelsea while United have signed Romelu Lukaku – the initial transfer target for Chelsea during the summer.
But if you ask us then probably Man Utd and Jose Mourinho might just have made the wrong decision in terms of choosing the striker. Mourinho signed the big Belgian because he was closest to Zlatan in terms of playing style and physique. Mourinho has always had a soft spot for strikers who have that bullying capability and Lukaku fitted the brief perfectly. And true to his reputation at Everton, Lukaku had a wonderful start to the new season but now 11 games into the new season, Lukaku is quickly fading into oblivion.
On the other hand, Morata is rapidly solidifying his spot as one of the best strikers in the Premier League. And last night’s game vs United was just another example of it. While Lukaku was struggling to even get a touch, Morata was making runs and tormenting the defenders. While Morata scored the only goal of the match with a perfectly placed header, Lukaku could not even get a touch inside the Chelsea penalty area.
Lukaku’s performance was so bad that by the end of the match, David De Gea had more touches on the ball than the striker. Lukaku failed to hold up play and the Chelsea defenders would nick the ball well before he could even get a touch. But Morata was playing a completely different brand of football. Every time the Spaniard would receive the ball, he would hold it up to help his attacking partners make forward runs and then find a pinpoint pass for them.
We are not saying Lukaku is a bad footballer but the performances in recent weeks suggest that Morata is leaps and bounds ahead of him. Morata looks more of a complete team player who works pretty well with his people around him. While Lukaku is that ‘stay-in-the box kind’ of striker. Feed him good balls and he will score almost everytime but tell him to come down and help in building attacks and suddenly you see that he is a pretty average player.
Having said all this, Mourinho can now do very little to sort this mess out. Either he will have to tell his midfielders to work extra hard so that Lukaku can have that luxury of staying in the box or just wait it out until Zlatan makes himself available again.