‘Too lacklustre’: Darren Bent says Chelsea player needs to improve his first touch after Saturday's display
Darren Bent gave a rather damning indictment of Romelu Lukaku’s first touch following Chelsea’s defeat to Manchester City on the weekend.
Speaking on Premier League Productions, the former striker highlighted the deficiencies demonstrated by Lukaku when the ball was fed into his feet.
Aside from a case of the miss-control, the Belgian international had a difficult afternoon in general at the Etihad last Saturday.
He was starved of support by those surrounding him in attack, mainly due to City’s domination of possession.
When the centre-forward was finally brought into the game, he hardly threatened Pep Guardiola’s opaque defence.
A pretty dreadful day for Lukaku
The 28-year-old squandered the one, golden opportunity that fell his way at a pivotal point in the contest.
With the scores still level, Mateo Kovacic split City’s centre-backs and sent Lukaku in on goal.
Ederson made a smart stop to deny the shot, however, it felt like the Brazilian goalkeeper was always in control of the situation.
The same cannot be said for Lukaku’s ability to keep the ball under his spell.
“Lukaku’s movement at times was very good, he didn’t get the service,” said Bent.
“There was times where you could see where he was pointing where he wanted the ball, the ball wouldn’t come. They’d choose to go sidewards or backwards or play the safe pass.
“But also, when they played it to him, he was too lacklustre in possession. It was bouncing off him. He wasn’t bringing others into play.
“It kind of reminded me of the Lukaku second season at Man United.”
Misery in Manchester
Mention of that subsequent and final campaign at Old Trafford will send shivers down Lukaku’s spine.
Apart from the current term, it was the first time he failed to get over the 20-goal mark since 2013/14.
He then went on to score 64 times for Inter Milan after leaving United, an indication that the attacker simply did not belong with the Red Devils.
But does he really belong with Chelsea?
Many people have begun to ask the question, as Tuchel’s side arguably look more efficient and fluid without Lukaku in the picture.
The two parties seem to be on different wavelengths right now, especially after the interview with Sky Italia came to the surface.
Has the dream reunion already reached its climax? From the outside, the answer feels pretty definitive.