sport news Are Chelsea a better team with or without Romelu Lukaku?

sport news Are Chelsea a better team with or without Romelu Lukaku?
sport news Are Chelsea a better team with or without Romelu Lukaku?

Romelu Lukaku's £98million return to Chelsea in the summer was heralded as a game-changer in terms of the Premier League title race, with many switching from Manchester City to back Thomas Tuchel's men.

Pep Guardiola's men had failed to secure the £150m signing of Harry Kane from Tottenham, while the side who had beaten them in May's Champions League final managed to recruit Serie A champions Inter Milan's top goalscorer.

Those who had changed their minds appeared destined to be vindicated for their decision when Lukaku opened his account on his second debut at Arsenal, before a double at home to Aston Villa and another header against Zenit three days later.

Romelu Lukaku has scored four goals in 11 games since returning to Chelsea in the summer

Romelu Lukaku has scored four goals in 11 games since returning to Chelsea in the summer

He then missed seven games through injury before being named on the bench on Tuesday

He then missed seven games through injury before being named on the bench on Tuesday

The 28-year-old, however, then went four Premier League games and one-and-a-quarter Champions League matches without scoring or assisting, and the hope of ending that rut anytime soon was dashed after sustaining an ankle injury against Malmo.

Tuchel said after their subsequent 4-0 win against the Swedish side that Lukaku would take a 'while to recover', which would have put some fans on edge with crucial Premier League fixtures coming up in November.

However, Chelsea have not struggled in front of goal in the Belgium striker's absence, netting 22 goals (including the third and fourth against Malmo after he went off injured) in eight games across all competitions.

The ex-Inter Milan striker was an unused substitute in Tuesday night's 4-0 thrashing of Juventus as the Champions League holders qualified for the knockout stages. But he is likely to be in contention to face his former club Manchester United when they visit for the late Sunday afternoon kick-off in the Premier League. 

So have Chelsea fared better this season with or without their record signing? Sportsmail crunches the numbers to find out... 

The Blues have already played 20 games this season but have been without Lukaku for nearly half of those.

The European champions have emerged victorious in seven of the 11 matches in which the Belgium star has featured, while recording six victories in the nine fixtures without him.

The Blues have drawn on more occasions in matches in which Lukaku has played at least some part, but they are yet to lose when the Belgian has not figured compared to twice when he has. 

It would be totally irrational to lay the blame at Lukaku's door for the defeats by Manchester City and Juventus this term, especially since they did not face a team currently in the form and of the calibre of City or Liverpool during his absence.

But it is an indication the Blues have still managed to find balance in their game without their focal point up top.  What, however, could be read into a little more closely is Chelsea's form in front of goal with Lukaku in and out of the side.

Reece James has scored four of his five goals in 2021-22 without Lukaku on the pitch, while Mason Mount has also stepped up with a hat-trick against Norwich and the likes of Kai Havertz and Timo Werner have kept ticking along too.

The Blues have had 12 different goalscorers in Lukaku's absence as well as one own goal, showing continued good form in front of goal.  

In two fewer games, Chelsea have scored five more goals without the Belgian (24) than they have when he has led the line for Tuchel's men (19). 

Unsurprisingly therefore, their average goals per game stands at 2.7 without the ex-Everton and West Brom forward, compared to 1.7 with him in the team. 

Mason Mount's hat-trick against Norwich came among 22 goals scored in Lukaku's absence

Mason Mount's hat-trick against Norwich came among 22 goals scored in Lukaku's absence

Chelsea's average shots per game increases from 14.1 with Lukaku as one of the players used on a given matchday this term compared to 20.2 without him, and they have dominated the ball more with 58.9 per cent possession increasing to 65.1.

The Blues, however, do

read more from dailymail.....

NEXT sport news David Moyes admits West Ham MUST secure top four finish to keep Declan Rice