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Manchester United looking really lacklustre without Romelu Lukaku

The Belgian number 9 has been an imperative part of the Manchester United team this season, ever since his big-money move from Everton last summer. So much so, since he picked an ankle injury against Arsenal last month, the Reds have looked severely short going forward and have really struggled in the final third.

The 24-year-old has proved to be a vital focal point for United going forward and been key in the final third for the Reds providing both goals and assists throughout the season. He has also ridden the burden of not performing in the big games, after terrorising former club Chelsea in the 2-1 win back in February, and then was key in the comeback win against City last month.

He has 28 goals this season, by far United’s top goal scorer and since his injury United have really struggled to score goals and even register a goal threat. Mourinho attempted to replace the striker with Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford against Brighton last month, a game which saw quite possibly United’s worst game of the season, and the pair were the subject of scrutiny from both the manager and pundits alike.

It was a game which according to former United defender Gary Neville“felt like it was the final straw for some of the players”, and that “the trust you need with the players had gone.”

The United boss then tried out playing a false number 9 in Jesse Lingard last week against West Ham, and that failed to produce a goal. It seems as if the team does not function going forward and somewhat run out of ideas, which shows the significance and importance Lukaku has to the United team.

It’s something that needs addressing come the summer because if the worse was to happen and Lukaku were to get injured again at some point next season, these last two games show how the Reds cannot function properly without the Belgian striker. There has been plenty of talk about purchasing a new striker before next season, but I like most thought United had ready-made replacements for Lukaku. These last couple of games have proved that theory wrong and a new striker is a must on Mourinho’s transfer list.

The game last Friday did confirm United’s best finish in the League since Sir Alex Ferguson retired which is something the Mourinho’s men can take into next season, but we still look short of something going forward, and without Lukaku have no chance of challenging for the League next season.

All of the other top six sides have two top strikers in their ranks and United need the same. City have Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus, Chelsea have Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud and Tottenham Hotspur have Harry Kane and Fernando Llorente, its only Liverpool who are surviving on the quality of one number nine in Roberto Firmino, but they like United have quality in other areas to make up for that.

The absence of Lukaku can be seen as somewhat as a blessing in disguise because it has shown that some players just simply aren’t good enough to make the grade at United and I feel there will be a few players leaving Old Trafford this summer. But there also needs to be at least one top striker coming in because Lukaku cannot be relied on as heavily as he has been this season, and it will be hard to challenge on all fronts going into next season with just one striker.

Written by Dan Pearce

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