Micah Richards has said that Romelu Lukaku is capable of keeping Chelsea in the race for the Premier League title this season.

Lukaku, who re-signed for the Blues in the summer, is the club’s number nine.

The left-footed striker has five goals in 15 appearances so far this season, with an injury disrupting him throughout most of November.

However, the Belgian frontman is back playing again and even scored in midweek during the 3-3 draw away to Zenit St Petersburg in the Champions League.

Richards has waxed lyrical about the 28-year-old’s ability. Also, he’s suggesting that he could be the difference in Chelsea competing for the league title.

Thomas Tuchel’s Blues are currently third in the table after surrendering their lead at the top and have two fierce rivals to beat in Manchester City and Liverpool if they want to win the title.

“I don’t doubt Chelsea will get back to keeping clean sheets but what will keep them in the title race is the form of Romelu Lukaku, who is finding his stride after fitness issues. When he is on the pitch, he carries a fear factor and can bully defenders,” Richards wrote.

“Lukaku has made huge strides during his career and I would hate to play against him. I remember facing him for Aston Villa against Everton back in November 2015 and it was basically impossible to keep him quiet — he scored a brace and was unplayable that day.

“He was stronger and faster and you couldn’t get near him when he built up a head of steam.

“If Chelsea get their system right and Reece James and Marcos Alonso start firing balls in for Lukaku, they will quickly prove why plenty of people were tipping them to become champions back in August.”

Zenit St. Petersburg v Chelsea FC: Group H - UEFA Champions League
Photo by MB Media/Getty Images

Lukaku vital to Chelsea

If Lukaku rediscovers his golden touch in front of goal, Premier League defences should be petrified.

He’s developed into this natural goalscorer that you can bank on contributing every season, which is why it’s a shame his opening few months back at Stamford Bridge have been rocked by injury.

Chelsea are only two points off the top of the league amid their injury crisis, though, so they can be genuine contenders if they get their key players fit.

Lukaku’s not actually scored a Premier League goal since September, but back-to-back home games against Leeds United and Everton look ideal on paper for him to pick up some momentum. He’s tailor-made for the division with his strength, pace and aggression.

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