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Horses For Courses

Can Big Rom pick off the Cherries again to help silence the doubters?

Romelu Lukaku had a Sunday to forget. Not only was the Belgium international culpable for both of Manchester City’s goals but he also squandered a guilt-edged chance late on that would have salvaged a point for the Red Devils in the derby.

He didn’t receive much sympathy, with his much publicized flaws doing the rounds across the various Social Media channels again.

He has now failed to score in 12 of his last 14 games for United but despite this he still has a higher xG aggregate figure (Expected Goals) than any other Premier League player this season. Admittedly, Harry Kane and Mohamed Salah, the 2 leading goalscorers, have seen less game time than the ever-present Lukaku but it does indicate that he is getting into good goalscoring positions.

Pundits were somewhat divided about his performance against City, with those coming to his defence questioning the service he was getting.

His goal-drought means that he has slipped down the Armband Rankings a bit ahead of GW17 but he still looks a viable option.

GW17 Contribution Expectancy (Goals & Assists)
Player 0 1 2 3+
Harry Kane 30.80% 36.27% 21.36% 11.57%
Mohamed Salah 34.30% 36.70% 19.64% 9.36%
Sergio Agüero 35.80% 36.77% 18.89% 8.53%
Philippe Coutinho 37.21% 36.79% 18.18% 7.82%
Romelu Lukaku 38.32% 36.76% 17.63% 7.29%
Sadio Mané 43.63% 36.19% 15.01% 5.18%
Gabriel Jesus 44.27% 36.07% 14.70% 4.96%
Álvaro Morata 44.49% 36.03% 14.59% 4.89%
Alexandre Lacazette 46.94% 35.50% 13.42% 4.13%
Alexis Sánchez 47.59% 35.34% 13.12% 3.95%
Kevin De Bruyne 48.05% 35.22% 12.90% 3.83%
Leroy Sané 49.78% 34.72% 12.11% 3.38%
Christian Eriksen 51.40% 34.21% 11.38% 3.01%
Dele Alli 52.53% 33.82% 10.89% 2.77%
Anthony Martial 52.61% 33.79% 10.85% 2.75%

 

Now if you are familiar with some of the parlance they use in the Sport of Kings, you will know that there is an old adage that refers to ‘horses for courses’. It implies that a racehorse may be well-suited by a particular track and will often win a race when competing at the venue for various reasons.

In a similar way, goalscorers often perform well against specific clubs, so Lukaku will certainly hope that this is the case on Wednesday when United host AFC Bournemouth. The under-pressure striker scored 4 times in Everton’s 6-3 win over the Cherries at Goodison Park last season and has 6 career goals in 5 appearances against them.

For an outlay of £75m United fans would have expected a real thoroughbred – let’s see if he can put in a fitting performance on Wednesday!

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