Alan Shearer's view of Romelu Lukaku's performance against Chelsea is spot on
Romelu Lukaku put in the best performance of his Manchester United career so far against Chelsea on Sunday.
The Belgian striker started the season well, scoring several times in the opening weeks of the campaign, but struggled for form and consistency through the winter months. Lukaku was particularly poor in United's goalless draw with Sevilla in the Champions League earlier this week, missing a chance from an Alexis Sanchez cross, and often failing to hold the ball-up.
Many were questioning his contribution to the side ahead of Sunday's game at Old Trafford, but the striker silenced the doubters with a very good display. He scored United's equaliser, after Willian had put Chelsea ahead, and then set-up Jesse Lingard for the winner with a cross for him to head home 15 minutes from full-time.
Lukaku was named man of the match for his performance.
However, Alan Shearer asked on Twitter following the match why the Belgian can't produce such a performance on a regular basis, and he has a point.
A brilliant centre forward performance from Lukaku. It just begs the question, why doesn't he play like that more often? #ManuChelsea
— Alan Shearer (@alanshearer) February 25, 2018
Lukaku's goal against Chelsea was his first this season against a side currently occupying the top eight of the Premier League. The former Everton striker had gone 10 games and 939 minutes without scoring against a top eight side.
Some of the reasons offered for Lukaku's inconsistency included a lack of service by his teammates.
— Alex Turley (@A_Turley) February 25, 2018
His manager's tactics.
Answer= Jose mourinho tactics
— Jemiil (@jega_10) February 25, 2018
And the fact he's still only 24, and therefore still developing his game.
He will !
You didn’t play brilliant every game matey at 24 !
— Nigel W Kingston 🇬🇧 (@Kingston22W) February 25, 2018
Different players developed at different stages, but Lukaku's at least one-third of the way through his career, so it's difficult to still consider him a young player. He has been isolated at times under Jose Mourinho's tactics, but it's also true that he hasn't made the most of the service he has received, often failing to keep hold of the ball and bring others into play.
It could just be that Lukaku is a confidence player, and his goal in the first-half against Chelsea spurred him on to play well for the rest of the game. Whatever the reasons for the striker's inconsistency, United fans will hope he now builds on this performance.
Jamie Carragher, speaking on Sky Sports following the match, was also impressed with Lukaku's contribution against Chelsea, and admitted that he may have been wrong about the player's attributes.
"It's a big result for Man Utd today, but it feels like an even bigger game for Lukaku, coming against a former club and having been questioned all season - and rightly so, sometimes a little bit harsh," Carragher said.
"Will that criticism ever go away? He'll have to consistently score in big games. It's not easy, and I'm not saying he would have to score every time. Psychologically you could see how unhappy he was when Geoff (Shreeves) was pushing him with questions about goals against the top six. But what he also does now, for the winning goal, I've always felt he's just a goalscorer, there isn't too much more to his play, he's not great at hold-up at times and he doesn't work the channels, but this (his assist) just answers me and plenty of his critics - there is more to his game."
Lukaku's goal against Chelsea was his 22nd of the season, and 13th goal in the Premier League for United.