Prior to the Premier League clash at Old Trafford, many Chelsea fans could be forgiven for thinking that Romelu Lukaku will not have an impact against his former club. After all, The 24 year old Belgian had a reputation for bottling it when the big clubs come calling.
He had scored 0 goals against the Top 6 sides this sealant before the game on Sunday, but after the game, his name was being sung from the terraces of the Theatre of Dreams. He registered his 99th Premier League goal late on in the first half, latching on to a moment of uncertainty in the Chelsea box to net his 13th league strike of his first season at United.
Chelsea had taken the lead through in-form Brazilian superstar, Willian but Lukaku gave perhaps his finest display in a United shirt since making the £75m move from Everton last summer. He scored a goal and delivered a beautifully lofted cross to the head of Jesse Lingard for the winning goal that had Thibaut Courtois rooted to the spot.
With the likes of Pogba and Sanchez looking below their normal levels, Lukaku stood up, and it could be the catalyst for bigger things to come in a United shirt. After hitting 11 goals in his first 10 appearances for the club, he suffered an alarming dip in form that had his fans and pundits questioning his ability.
Credit must go to Jose Mourinho for standing by him, and his teammates for always believing in his ability to turn the tide. His lowest moment came back in December when two costly errors allowed Manchester City leave Old Trafford with all three points, but if he puts his feet down, he could end the season on a flourish. Against a Chelsea back line consisting of the likes of Azpilicueta, Rudiger and Christensen, Lukaku bossed all three, leading to questions as to why he doesn’t do it week in, week-out.
By winning the Man of The Match award against a quality team and the league champions, it shows that the Big Belgian could actually be counted upon when the chips are down. A Chelsea win would have heaped more pressure on Jose Mourinho, though Lukaku had other ideas. With the season still some 15-20 games to the end, depending on how far United go in the cup competitions, Lukaku can go on another scoring run to help United end the campaign well.
At 24, nearing 25, he is entering the peak of his career, but he must be more consistent in his displays. The Chelsea players were quite terrified of Lukaku as his power, physicality and finishing proved to be the difference, a timely reminder of the big mistake Chelsea made by not allowing him time to flourish at the Bridge.
All the big players have that one game that catapults them into mainstream consciousness. Lukaku vs Chelsea could be the game that changes everything for him at United. The whole world is watching.