The case for Romelu Lukaku

13/09/2018 Planet FPL

Since my pre-season articles on Manchester United which were largely negative I have avoided writing about the club given the early season omnishambles. A first four weeks that saw the board refuse to back the managers signings, then brief behind the managers back, the manager fall out with the star player, who then hinted he might want to leave anyway. So a month into the season it’s now perfectly reasonable to be anti Glazer, anti Mourinho, anti Pogba and anti Woodward.

This combined with a pathetic defeat against Brighton and an unlucky defeat against Spurs has left me longing for the days when Ferguson won enough matches with enough style that the referee haranguing, petty arguments with players and ripping the club apart over a horse he didn’t own were an irrelevance.

Since the season started I have written about Eden Hazard and Sergio Aguero and not really had much desire to own a United player apart from the feelgood story of Luke Shaw.

But then I started to look for a way to find a differential to break away from the template and turn a decent start into a great one and I think I’ve come up with an idea. It involves buying the striker owned by less than 8 percent, with the second highest shots on target this season and with a fixture list of

Watford (A)

Wolves (H)

West Ham (A)

Newcastle (H)

Chelsea (A)

Everton (H)

By now you have probably realised I’m considering buying Lukaku. The criticisms on Lukaku are that under Mourinho he has developed a tendency to only score in ones – indeed his brace against Burnley in GW4 was the first time he had scored 2 in a Premier League game since the opening day of last season – and that he is a flat track bully who never performs against the top sides.

And while the first point is valid, Lukaku has shown in his career he likes a haul and is off the back of a brace for Belgium in midweek. There has also been a slight change of emphasis by United since the Brighton game. United have had 44 shots in the two games against Spurs and Burnley, if this rate keeps up in the next run of fixtures Lukaku could get a hatful.

The charge of him being a flat track bully? So what? This is FPL, we love flat track bullies? Lukaku was considered underwhelming in his first season at United but in purely fantasy terms the signs are there that this run of games could be a good time to go in on him. Since the Belgian joined the club he has played 27 league games against non top 6 opposition. In those games he has 18 goals and 4 assists.

The other key factor is the Champions League starting XI. Rotation is guaranteed for a lot of players. Lukaku might be the most rotation free player in the league. In the 16 games either side of United’s Champions League games last year Lukaku started all 16, a similar selection policy this year could see Lukaku a more valuable pick over the next few months than the likes of Aguero and Firmino who are at similar price points, especially given the captaincy potential of Lukaku at home.

Picking Lukaku can come with a health warning rather like owning his fellow Belgian Eden Hazard so be warned this is not a pick for the faint hearted, but in a year where a template has formed early he could be a forgotten gem for a risky surge up the table.