COMETH THE HOUR, cometh the man.
It will be almost judgement day for Romelu Lukaku on Saturday – if he rightly gets the nod to start for Chelsea at Wembley.Romelu Lukaku was on the scoresheet again for Chelsea at Leeds[/caption]
The Belgian took his tally to 15 for the season – and his third within the space of five days – with a deserved goal in the 3-0 win over Leeds United.
Now it’s finally time for the club’s record-signing, and current top scorer, to silence his doubters against Liverpool and fire Chelsea to glory.
And also prove why the West London club forked out £97.5 million for him.
He came into the clash on the back of scoring his first Premier League goals since the end of December.
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The 28-year-old bagged twice against Wolves and must have been licking his lips at the prospect of more against strugglers Leeds.
And after Mason Mount’s third-minute opener, the Belgian and his manager must have both been thinking the ex-Inter Milan man would add to his season’s tally of 14.
He got the ball trapped under his feet early when trying to break into the box at Elland Road and then headed just centimetres wide from star man Reece James’ cross.
He then had the ball in the net as he broke clear of the line and lobbed Illan Meslier, only for it to be ruled out for offside.
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You could feel a bit of frustration starting to grow, especially after some superb hold-up play led to him teeing-up Ruben Loftus-Cheek to fire wide.
Lukaku then surged forward after rolling a defender and then cut in past three but his left foot strike was dragged wide when teammates were better placed.
Another miss followed – but his work-rate never dropped once and his powerful display was rewarded late on.
Lukaku looked like his chance had gone when he opted not to strike following Hakim Ziyecg’s square-ball inside the area, but he bided his time and evaded three challenges and then hammered home into the net.
It was exactly what his performance deserved – now he MUST get the opportunity to follow it up at Wembley in the FA Cup Final.
For all his doubters, Lukaku is a man for big games and occasions – as his goal in February to help seal the Club World Cup showed.
And if he can fire another against Liverpool, while bullying the likes of Joel Matip and Virgil van Dijk like he did the Leeds backline, then finally his Chelsea career will be starting to look like the one he envisaged upon his return to the club last year.