On-fire Lukaku sets personal record
Manchester United striker Romelu Lukau is on fire at the moment, scoring multiple goals in three successive matches for the first time in his club career.
The big Belgian's first-half double in Wednesday's thrilling Champions League away win over Paris Saint-Germain follows back-to-back Premier League braces at the expense of Crystal Palace and Southampton.
But while it's the first time Lukaku has netted more than once in three games on the spin, he's no stranger to scoring sequences in general. In fact, he scored in his first three competitive appearances in United colours – against Real Madrid in the Super Cup final, West Ham United and Swansea City at the start of the 2017/18 campaign.
Had his penalty not been saved by Leicester City’s Kasper Schmeichel in the next game, that run would have extended to an amazing 10 matches as he managed to net in each of his next six outings after the 2-0 win over the Foxes (in which Marcus Rashford and Marouane Fellaini were the scorers).
Lukaku also netted in three successive fixtures in March 2018 - against Sevilla, Brighton and Swansea - and more recently in the early weeks of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s reign as caretaker manager. The Belgian scored against Bournemouth on 30 December, came off the bench to break the deadlock at Newcastle United three days later and was then on target in the Emirates FA Cup third-round triumph over Reading.Although he was not always a starter in Solskjaer's side during January and February, a rare lean spell for the marksman followed his Reading effort - he went nine games without a goal. There were mitigating circumstances as he played in a wider role in some of the fixtures and became more of a creator than a finisher.
Yet he has relished a return to a central role and has caught fire at just the right time of the season. The doubles against Palace, Southampton and now PSG show he is at the very peak of his powers.
Both finishes in Paris were clinical, ruthlessly punishing a poor backpass by Thilo Kehrer inside two minutes by rounding Gianluigi Buffon and squeezing the ball home from an ever-decreasing angle. His second goal was the sort that will delight Ole, feeding on the rebound after Buffon made a hash of a speculative long-ranger from Rashford.
And some say he doesn’t score against the bigger clubs. Lukaku may still only be 25 but he keeps setting goal records. And this latest purple patch bodes extremely well for the challenges that lie ahead, namely the trips to Arsenal and Wolves in the Premier League and FA Cup respectively.
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