'I'll be honest with you': Thierry Henry says what's happened to Chelsea player recently is 'not normal'
Thierry Henry commented on the complete absurdity of Romelu Lukaku’s lack of involvement for Chelsea against Crystal Palace last weekend.
Speaking on CBS yesterday, Henry described the Belgian’s performance at Selhurst Park on Saturday as unusual, to say the least.
For a player who made such a minimal impact on proceedings, so much has been spoken about Lukaku in the aftermath of Chelsea’s narrow 1-0 Premier League win.
The number seven will forever haunt the striker, having only touched the ball that many times throughout the entire match.
Not surprisingly, this set an unwanted modern top-flight record.
It is still a baffling concept that a centre-forward of such status, in a side of such quality, can go missing for such a length of time.
Crack the surface slightly and some answers to his conundrum start to appear.
Henry scratches his head
Thomas Tuchel’s methods simply do not align with Lukaku’s strengths.
He prefers his players to work between the lines, rather than hitting straight into the frontman.
This often leaves the club-record signing stranded, left out of attacks, or only used as a last resort.
The 28-year-old has looked like a square peg in a round hole ever since he returned from a month-long injury absence in November.
For some, Lukaku hasn’t appeared a suitable fit at Stamford Bridge from day one.
“Right from the start I raised a question to myself, would he fit into this team?” questioned Henry.
“Is it normal that he only has seven touches? No, that’s also not normal, regardless if the coach likes you or not. That shouldn’t happen.
“They need to move forward on that but it’s a tough one to read. I’ll be honest with you, I don’t know how that happens in 90 minutes. But what’s the solution?
“The solution is for him to find a solution to make sure he can adapt to the way they play.
“They like to press, to be active and to change the front three. He likes to stay in the middle so it makes it very difficult for him to adapt to the situation.
‘But again, why did you go and get him?”
Is this the last dance for Lukaku?
That last line from the Arsenal striker is certainly a poignant and interesting one.
Originally, Lukaku returned to Cobham on the basis of being Tuchel’s key to winning the league.
However, Chelsea have not managed to mount a sustained siege on Manchester City’s castle, partly owed to the struggles of their expensive new signing.
The Blues actually look a better proposition without Lukaku involved, highlighted by last night’s Champions League performance.
Could time already be up for the number nine before it’s even begun?
For Chris Sutton, the end of the season could signal the end of the road for the former Inter Milan attacker in South West London.
That, or the conclusion of Tuchel’s tenure.
If Chelsea fans were to pick between the manager and Lukaku, there would only ever be one winner.