Manchester United's Romelu Lukaku makes dream Old Trafford bow - Analysis of striker's performance in 4-0 win

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Romelu Lukaku made a dream Old Trafford debut as his £75 million price tag began to pay dividends in a 4-0 win over West Ham United in their Premier League opening fixture.

The Belgian scored a goal in each half as Manchester United steamrolled the visitors with a scintillating performance.

Substitutes Anthony Martial and Paul Pogba got on the score sheet as well to put some gloss on the scoreline in the closing stages.

Here, we focus on the Lukaku’s performance.

Basic stats

Goals – 2

Assists – 0

Shots – 5

Dribbles – 1

Passes – 25

Key passes – 3

Pass Accuracy – 64%

Touches – 41

Aerials Won – 6

Effectiveness

The striker looked in the mood from the opening few minutes, running the channels and bulldozing his way down the left flank early on, winning a corner at the end of a powerful run.

With West Ham sitting on the edge of their own box as United settled into the game, Lukaku was the focal point in attack as his teammates played passes off him while he was always a target in the box for crosses coming in.

His pace made him effective on the counter-attack as well, which is how the first goal came about. His clinical strike in the first half was crucial as it calmed a few nerves in Old Trafford, still haunted by last season’s abysmal form in front of goal.

The Belgian then exhibited his aerial dominance with his second goal, coming from an in-swinging free-kick. He could easily have had a third just after the hour mark but his right-footed effort from inside the box was blocked.

Lukaku was also more than useful with his link-up play, setting Pogba up for a chance with a dink over the top of the defence in the second half and ending up with three key passes.

Key moments

33rd min: Matic does well to get the ball of Pedro Obiang and set Rashford off on the counter. The 19-year-old surges up the field and slides Lukaku in with a perfectly weighted throughball. United’s new No9 makes no mistake as his finish crashes in off the near post.

52nd min: Rashford is set off on the break again, this time by David de Gea, and wins a foul off Zabaleta. Mkhitaryan takes the resultant free-kick and Lukaku towers above the rest with a glancing header into the far corner.

62nd min: The former Everton striker then gets a chance to seal his hat-trick as Rashford plays him in with time and space on the right side of the penalty area. He gets his shot away but it is blocked by Zabaleta who throws himself in front of the effort.

Our verdict

Lukaku could hardly have hoped for a better Old Trafford bow. It was a near perfect performance from the striker which gave United the perfect start to the new season.

It was a solid all-round display, featuring plenty of pace and power coupled with superb centre forward play and lethal finishing. He fell short of a dream hat-trick but this was a huge statement from a monstrous goalscorer.

8.5/10

Your verdict

All statistics are compiled using whoscored.com

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Antonio Rudiger urges Chelsea to forget Burnley loss and focus on Tottenham

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Antonio Rudiger

Antonio Rudiger insists Chelsea’s players must respond quickly to their collapse against Burnley and be ready for next Sunday’s clash with possible title rivals Tottenham.

The Blues began the defence of their Premier League crown with a chastening 3-2 defeat at Stamford Bridge that was sparked by the 14th-minute dismissal of captain Gary Cahill for a studs-up tackle, while Cesc Fabregas was sent off later for a second bookable offence.

Burnley reacted brilliantly by powering into a 3-0 lead with two goals from Sam Vokes and a Stephen Ward strike, before replies from Alvaro Morata and David Luiz saw the ensuing fightback fall just short.

Rudiger, Chelsea’s £29 million summer signing from Roma who was making his Premier League debut, admits the team dealt poorly with the setback of losing Cahill.

“If you have a red card early in the game it’s a shock moment for everyone but we are all professionals and we need to do better in those kind of situations,” the Germany full-back told the club’s official website.

“We conceded three goals too easily. We tried our best but at the end of the day football is about results and we lost.

“In the second half we deserve compliments because you saw a team who tried when it wasn’t easy and at the end of the match we had two men less.

“We have to take the positives from the game, like the second half, work hard during the week and play a good match against Tottenham.”

Burnley's Sam Vokes (C) celebrates his goal with teammates.

Burnley’s Sam Vokes (C) celebrates his goal with teammates.

Apart from Chelsea’s spirited fightback, the only other positive to emerge from a poor start to their title defence was Morata’s contribution off the bench.

The Spaniard, a £58million signing from Real Madrid, scored one and had a second goal disallowed and was a thorn in Burnley’s side for the entire 31 minutes he was on the pitch.

“Alvaro has a good space to improve himself. He’s working very well and hard to get good fitness as quickly as possible,” said Chelsea boss Antonio Conte.

“Then he needs to adapt very quickly to our style of football. But for sure he played very well in the last 30 minutes.

“He helped us a lot and scored one goal and he played a really good game. This is really good news for us.”

Burnley celebrated one of the great Premier League opening-day upsets but boss Sean Dyche called for perspective when reflecting on a famous win.

Last season, Burnley failed to record an away victory in the league until late April, relying heavily on their Turf Moor form to stay above the relegation zone.

Dyche is still expecting a challenging campaign this time, despite the stunning start.

“It gets us a win and an away win, so it kills all of that off, but we’re not getting carried away. It’s a great result that was brilliant for us and our supporters,” Dyche said.

“But it’s one result and the season is right in front of us. Everyone is telling us this season will be a big challenge for us.

“Now we need to see if we can move it forward a bit again. It’s very difficult for this club to make massive strides, so it’s about just shifting it forward.

“This win won’t do us any harm at all, but there are a lot of big games coming so it’s important we remind ourselves of that.”

Provided by Press Association Sport

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Which club will win the Premier League? Our writers pick their champions

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The 2017/18 Premier League season kicked off on Friday as Arsenal beat Leicester City and our team of writers have put their necks on the line and made their predictions for the new campaign.

Do you agree with their views?

Let us know on our Twitter and Facebook pages.


 

 


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