Former Scotland international Ally McCoist has called Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku a ‘problem’ in the squad due to his lack of pace.
The Belgian made a club-record £97.5 million switch from Inter Milan last summer to return to Stamford Bridge for a second spell. However, things haven’t gone according to plan, with Lukaku struggling for consistent form and netting only eight goals in the Premier League.
He recently fired a blank in Chelsea’s FA Cup final loss to Liverpool, having entered the showpiece on the back of three goals in his previous two games.
Far from finding the net, the 29-year-old failed to muster a single shot on target, completing only five passes in 85 minutes of action.
The Blues held Liverpool out for 120 minutes but endured another shootout heartbreak, losing 6-5 on penalties. It was their third cup exit in 2022, continuing a difficult calendar year so far, with McCoist calling their season one of disappointment. Speaking to talkSPORT, he said (via The Chelsea Chronicle):
“A disappointing one, not winning anything, that’s absolutely for sure. They’ve got to finish third to get the Champions League, that goes without saying. I think losing two cup finals, the manner of the defeat in Madrid, to a lot of clubs, it would be a very successful season, but from Chelsea’s point of view, I’d put it down as a disappointing season.”
Assessing their poor defence and the Lukaku connundrum, he added:
“I think he’s (Tuchel) got bigger problems at the other end. (His defence has been) absolutely decimated. (Antonio) Rudiger and (Andreas) Christensen away. So, I’m not going to say it’s a rebuilding job, but he’s going to have to restructure his defence totally. Lukaku’s obviously another problem in that area of the park. He looks as those he’s slightly off it, pace-wise. At that level you can’t afford to be because you’ll get caught out.”
Lukaku has never been known for speed. He is renowned for his hold-up play and goalscoring prowess, but some poor first-touches have let him down in that regard too this season.
Chelsea will confirm third place with Leicester win
Chelsea are looking to secure third place in the league and will seal it with a win over Leicester City on Thursday.
Tottenham Hotspur are only two points behind them in fourth but have played a game more. Meanwhile, Arsenal are four behind them and won’t be able to catch them if the Blues claim all three points this week.