A handful of Chelsea supporters on social media predicted Romelu Lukaku to be rested by Thomas Tuchel for this evening’s Champions League tie versus Malmo.
Lukaku has hardly earned a minute to get his breathe back since re-signing for the Blues in August.
He is yet to miss a game following that club-record move from Inter Milan, starting nine out of a possible ten available to him.
Sandwiched in between the club commitments have been international endeavours as well.
The 28-year-old played two of Belgium’s World Cup qualifiers and their Nations League semi-final defeat to France.
Had it not been for a suspension and then a back problem, Lukaku would certainly have featured in every match.
No rest for Romelu
“I feel him a bit tired mentally,” admitted Tuchel in his press conference ahead of the Malmo clash.
“Not like hugely that we have a concern, but for me, he does not fully enjoy without having second thoughts.
“For me, he is overplayed a little bit.”
Based on Tuchel’s remarks, Chelsea fans anticipated Lukaku to start on the bench tonight against the Swedish side.
Here’s how they reacted on Twitter:
He’s getting rested tomorrow 100%— 𝙼𝚊𝚛𝚟𝚘𝚘𝚘🥤 (@surennnn11) October 19, 2021
He is getting rested tomorrow, i have a feeling. Werner or Havertz upfront— Titus🤷🏽♂️ (@CFCTitus) October 19, 2021
So not start tomorrow for rest— Said haruna (@Hatib147) October 19, 2021
Lukaku will be rested tonight— Kyle (@Ksamson170) October 20, 2021
Let Lukaku put his feet up
It is still up for debate what the best remedy is for Lukaku.
The striker hasn’t scored for Chelsea in six matches, potentially a backlash of his Belgium obligation.
Does he need to step out of the spotlight and reenergise, or continue to search for that missing goal?
Players like Lukaku feed on confidence and the only way they feel that is to be out on the field.
So, there is every chance the centre-forward features from the first whistle later today.
But keeping him on the bench would give other members of Tuchel’s squad an opportunity to stretch their legs.
Kai Havertz and Timo Werner could play through the middle, leaving an attacking slot for Hakim Ziyech or Callum Hudson-Odoi to fill.
Chelsea might just have to sacrifice Lukaku just this once for the good of the team.