Romelu Lukaku is final piece of Chelsea’s jigsaw as philosophy on display in Arsenal win

Thomas Tuchel wasted no time in starting his latest prised asset Romelu Lukaku. The 28-year-old was deployed in-between attacking midfielders Kai Havertz and Mason Mount in Chelsea’s 2-0 win against Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal side.

And it only took Lukaku 15 minutes to repay his new manager’s faith, as he opened his goalscoring account for the West Londoners.


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Lukaku held off Arsenal’s Pablo Mari before setting the ball back to Mateo Kovacic, who released Reece James down the right-hand side.

The England right-back latched onto the pass beautifully, and threaded a first time cross into the path of the £98 million who made no mistake with the finish.

When Lukaku’s previous manager Antonio Conte bought him to the San Siro, the Italian manager set to develop Lukaku’s game with his back to goal.

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Barely five minutes later, the skills installed into Lukaku by the former Chelsea manager were on full display once more, as he barraged Mari, clearing a route for Mount to drive into space.

Arsenal looked terrified every time Lukaku got the ball, and if the constant smirk on Lukaku’s face told you anything, it was that he knew he had already got the better of the North Londoners.

At times there were four red shirts crowding around Lukaku’s vicinity.

Mari and Rob Holding tried to double up on the Belgian, but they were soon demanding the support of defensive midfielders Granit Xhaka and Albert Sambi-Lokonga.

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Even this cage of red shirts did not prevent the likes of Jorginho, Kovacic and Mount from arrowing passes passes through the midfield into Lukaku’s feet.

Lukaku’s involvement in Chelsea’s second goal may not earn him any statistical acknowledgements, but it did demonstrate what he brings to the team.

He dropped inside between the lines, enticing Pablo Mari and Kieran Tierney into his area.

This gave James the freedom of the city to receive Mount’s pass, look up, and smash into the top corner. 

In the second half, Chelsea elected to sit back and protect their lead, but this did not mean Lukaku was out of the action.

In fact, it showed the newly improved side of his game, as Chelsea were able to loft balls into the centre-forward for him to control and hold the ball up.

This gave the Chelsea defence and midfield precious time to recover and reset – Lukaku was the ultimate reliever of pressure for Tuchel’s side. 

Lukaku came so close to scoring a second with a flying diving header.

He got across his man effortlessly and made excellent contact, but Bernd Leno was there to miraculously tip his header onto the crossbar.

Before the match Tuchel said he believed Lukaku’s presence could free up more space for Timo Werner to exploit with his pace.

While the German did not start the game, the acres of space vacated behind the Arsenal back four every time they tried to get tight to Chelsea’s new No.9, suggests Lukaku and Werner could be a partnership in the making.

And if Werner can find the shooting boots which made him so lethal for RB Leipzig, then Chelsea will be quite the force in the Premier League.

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