'The reality': Carragher says Chelsea's best performance of the season so far came when 28-year-old wasn't playing
Jamie Carragher has claimed Chelsea’s best team performance so far this season came when Romelu Lukaku wasn’t in the side.
Carragher’s done a piece in his latest Telegraph column assessing Lukaku’s current situation at Stamford Bridge.
The Chelsea centre-forward is struggling to have the desired impact this campaign, scoring eight goals in 23 games across all competitions. He’s definitely not delivering as many top-class contributions as a £97.5million player should be.
He’s proven over the years he’s a quality goalscorer, but he’s struggling to impact matches right now on a consistent basis for Thomas Tuchel’s men.
Carragher’s claimed that Chelsea’s best display so far in the 2021/22 season came in a 4-0 win against Juventus in November in the Champions League group stages. Interestingly, 28-year-old Lukaku was an unused substitute on that European night.
“On paper, Chelsea look a more balanced side with Lukaku. The reality is they have been at their most fluid and dangerous without him. Let’s not forget before Lukaku signed they won the Champions League final using the matchwinner, Kai Havertz, as a false nine,” he wrote.
“Look at Chelsea’s most complete performances this season – the 4-0 Champions League win over Juventus, the best example. Lukaku was not in the starting line-up due to injury.”
Chelsea conundrum continues
Yes, Lukaku’s still at the centre of the attention despite the fact his interview saga appears to have faded away.
Tuchel’s puzzle is to try get the best out of the Belgian striker, who’s obviously capable of scoring more goals and impacting matches more in the final third. Paul Merson has criticised his recently displays by saying he’s gone missing lately, too.
The Chelsea boss continues to test different combinations and partnerships in attack, but perhaps the most likely route to getting the best out of Lukaku is to have a striker partner play near him.
This Sunday’s Premier League contest at home to Tottenham is massive in the context of the season, so it’s intriguing to see what role Lukaku will play.