Lukaku ban could be a blessing in disguise for him, Manchester United
Romelu Lukaku is facing a three-match ban after kicking out against Brighton’s Gaetan Bong.
It was a foolish move, but given football is 50% being pushed and shoved, it is no great failing to react to that. Nevertheless, a ban is a reasonable and fair outcome.
Before Zlatan Ibrahimovic returned to fitness, that would have been a serious problem for Manchester United. Now he is back, there may be some advantage for Jose Mourinho and the side. Lukaku may benefit from a rest, and it may help Mourinho take a difficult decision.
Mourinho defended Lukaku after his performance against Brighton, making it 10 games with just one goal. He said he did not care about the statistics. There is good reason to believe him. If the team is functioning properly for Mourinho, then his striker will be doing more than just scoring.
He will harass defenders and allow his team to stretch play. As Daley Blind has shown in his performances ahead of Luke Shaw, if you do what Mourinho asks of you to the best of your ability, you will keep out players with more inherent talent.
Lukaku, then, had not been dropped in the same way Henrikh Mkhitaryan had been after a poor run.
Mkhitaryan was publicly criticised for failing to meet the expected standards, particularly damaging in Paul Pogba’s absence with injury. United have struggled with goals, and the majority of that has not been Lukaku’s fault. It would be daft to expect him to turn into Harry Kane, a player who can score from nothing. Lukaku needs service and for much of the last two months he has been denied it. He is struggling on someone else’s terms, not his own.