'I can't believe': Gary Neville left shocked by how poorly one Chelsea player has performed this season

Romelu Lukaku’s second spell at Chelsea left Gary Neville stunned on Monday Night Football.

Like so many, Neville anticipated a great deal following the Belgian’s return to Stamford Bridge last summer.

“Lukaku makes them very, very dangerous,” said the former Manchester United defender in August.

“For Chelsea, he will score a tonne of goals. He is perfect for that club.”

Rollercoaster ride for Romelu

After staring in Serie A for Inter Milan, where the striker fired Antonio Conte to the league title, the expectation was that Thomas Tuchel had acquired the same weapon.

Lukaku scored four times in his first four appearances, bullying Arsenal at the Emirates, to make everyone believe the Premier League might just be heading back to South West London.

Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

But the dream crumbled pretty quickly for both player and club.

Chelsea’s title charge ended around the middle of December, around the time their record-signing was just recovering from a lengthy injury absence.

Tuchel’s team dropped to third following defeat to West Ham United and haven’t been able to recover ground on Manchester City and Liverpool.

Meanwhile, Lukaku was going through a barren scoring run that started in September and only ended two months later.

His reintroduction to the opponent’s net unfortunately coincided with the Sky Italia interview, which sent social media into a spiral.

He was dropped for the subsequent game against Liverpool on the 2nd of January and has only scored three times in the league since.

Photo by Robin Jones/Getty Images

Neville stunned by Lukaku

The honey period is very much over for the Blues and their number nine, a short marriage that may well end in divorce.

“I thought that was a no-brainier Lukaku. He didn’t work at (Manchester) United and I never thought he settled, in the style of play wise,” admitted Neville.

“He went back to Italy and I thought Chelsea play a little bit like an Italian team, they don’t press from the front like Arsenal or (Manchester) City or other teams.

“It’s a more methodical team, that supply chances. I can’t believe how badly it’s gone for him.”

You are certainly not alone, Nev.

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Nathaniel is a football journalist who graduated from the University of Derby. He has worked at Burton Albion as part of their media team for two years. Nathaniel produces regular articles for the club’s official website and match-day programme. He covered the 2018 U20 Women’s World Cup in Brittany and has reported from grounds ranging from non-league up to the Premier League.