Voice of Sport

EPL Blog: Son of ex-Zaire international Lukaku having say after being rejected by Chelsea


FOOTBALL hath no fury like a striker scorned, and Romelu Lukaku looks like a man on a mission after inspiring Everton to the recent draw in a thrilling Merseyside derby.

The Belgian, his father, Roger Lukaku played professional football and was capped at international level by Zaire (DR Congo),  still seems sore to have been sent out on loan yet again rather than given the chance at Stamford Bridge this season, but he seems to be having his say in Chelsea’s season regardless.

Without him Everton would have been buried by Liverpool, so as long as he’s out there taking points off Chelsea’s title rivals while remaining ineligible to do the same against his parent club, Jose Mourinho is getting plenty of value out of him after all.

ARSENAL ARE THE NEW MAN UNITED

For the last 20 years we’ve become used to teams folding against Manchester United.

They gave up silly goals, missed straightforward chances, lost concentration in the last five minutes and invariably played beneath their true level as they panicked in the face of what they perceived to be an innately superior force.

But now it appears to be Arsenal whose mere presence on the pitch causes opponents to lose their minds: their ninth win of the season the previous weekend, came courtesy of two moments of insanity, one from Southampton goalkeeper Artur Boruc trying to dribble his way past a world class striker, and another from defender Jose Fonte giving away a late penalty in almost equally baffling circumstances.

It’s a decade since an Arsenal side last had anything that resembled an aura of infallibility — the famous ‘Invincibles’ side of 2003-04 — but with a third of the season almost gone Arsene Wenger’s side appear to have discovered some genuine Fergie-esque quality.

MANCHESTER UNITED ARE THE NEW LIVERPOOL

Is it too early in the day to draw parallels between the 1990-91 Reds and the 2013-14 Red Devils?

The resignation of Kenny Dalglish at Liverpool during the 1990-91 season saw the club lose a legendary manager and brought an end to roughly two decades of dominance.

The resignation of Alex Ferguson at Manchester United saw the club lose a legendary manager and appears to have brought to an end to roughly two decades of dominance.

Dalglish’s resignation

In the first two full seasons after Dalglish’s resignation, Liverpool finished sixth in the table. Spookily enough, United currently sit sixth in the table – and their performances this season so far suggest a strong likelihood that the same spot will still be theirs next May.

What is more worrying is the manner of those matches. The previous Sunday’s draw against newly-promoted Cardiff City was exactly the sort of game that Fergie’s United would never have let slip regardless of how well or badly they played.

That day they looked completely ordinary, and actually a pretty close match for Malky Mackay’s men, before – ignominy of ignominies! – conceding the sort of Fergie-time equaliser they used to thrive on.

ANDRE VILLAS-BOAS NEEDS TO STICK TO PLAN ‘A’

For most of the first half of previous Sunday’s match against Manchester City it was more or less business as usual for Tottenham: they dominated possession 60/40 but were utterly unable to produce anything resembling a clear-cut threat on goal.

Yet as frustrating as that is for fans demanding radical action, the events at the Etihad proved that AVB’s conservatism is justified— because the alternative looked truly horrific: he gambled on Erik Lamela from the start, and Lamela floundered; he gambled on switching to 4-4-2 at half-time, and his previously dominant midfield barely touched the ball again; and worst of all he gave 45 minutes to Emmanuel Adebayor, who barely produced 45 seconds of notable activity.

Three weeks, previously we begged AVB to take a few chances. Now, it’s begging him not to, and begging his pardon for ever having suggested as much.

MAN CITY NEED TO TEACH THEIR PLAYERS SOME BASICS ON GARDENING

Watching Manuel Pellegrini’s men cut loose on home turf yet again in their 6-0 destruction of Tottenham was inspiring and depressing in equal measure.

The inspiration came from the sheer joy the players obviously had in carving opponents apart, a joy that was oddly reminiscent of Lionel Messi’s always-evident relish in scoring amazing goals.

As for the depression? That’s down to the fact that it’s almost embarrassing to watch City play so well at the Etihad while knowing that they’re so bad on the road.

It’s rather like being married to a supermodel who is your constant delight and companion at home, but who refuses to leave the house and hides in the airing cupboard when your friends pop round.

Our suggestion? Sit the players down; explain that every football pitch in the league is roughly 115 yards long, 75 yards wide. They are all covered in grass. Seriously, boys, they’re really not that different.

IT WON’T BE A JOL-Y CHRISTMAS AT FULHAM

After yet another miserable performance at Craven Cottage, Martin Jol is now 4/11 on to be the next Premier League manager to leave his job.

Considering that the next nearest contenders are Andre Villas-Boas (unsackable, thanks to the backing he received in the market this summer) and Chris Hughton (unsackable, because Norwich know they’re lucky to have anyone as good) those odds seems generous.

If Fulham fail to beat West Ham, the Dutchman will surely be picking up his P45.

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