Romelu Lukaku returned to action for the first time in over two weeks on Sunday night – and proved the difference-maker as Chelsea defeated Aston Villa 3-1.
Having recently tested positive for COVID-19, the Belgium striker started his first match back on the bench, but was introduced by Blues boss Thomas Tuchel at the start of the second half with the game finely poised at 1-1.
Lukaku needed just 11 minutes to make his presence known, converting a Callum Hudson-Odoi cross to head Chelsea into the lead.
The £103.5 million summer signing from Inter Milan wasn’t done there, though.
Leading a Chelsea counter-attack in the dying minutes of the game, Lukaku rampaged upfield towards the Villa goal. Using his considerable strength to brush off defender Matt Targett as though he was nothing, the 28-year-old won his side their second penalty of the match when Ezri Konsa brought him down.
Jorginho duly despatched the spot-kick – ensuring Chelsea took all three points.
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Lukaku’s outstanding performance at Villa Park demonstrated just how important he is to the west London side.
However, while he’s developed into one of the world’s most feared strikers in recent years – hitting 64 goals in 95 games for Inter prior to his move to Stamford Bridge – Lukaku hasn’t always looked so accomplished.
A viral compilation of clips from his final season as a Manchester United player demonstrates just how drastic Lukaku’s evolution as a player has been.
After joining United from Everton for an initial £75m in 2017, Lukaku would spend two seasons at Old Trafford.
However, following a promising start, he ultimately struggled to find his groove at the ‘Theatre of Dreams’ – much to the frustration of United fans.
The video below contains some truly shocking misses and some awful attempts at landing various skills from his time with the Red Devils. In certain clips, Lukaku manages to look uncomfortable simply because the ball is at his feet.
It’s genuinely tough to believe that this is the same player that fired Inter to the Serie A title shortly afterwards. You can check out the footage for yourself here…
Video: Viral video highlights Lukaku’s struggles at Man Utd
With 42 goals in 96 appearances for United, we’re not suggesting that Lukaku’s time at the club was a total failure. That said, even the man himself would probably like to erase these moments from history.
A drastic turnaround!
Lukaku completes comeback! Aston Villa 1-3 Chelsea (Via The Football Terrace)