Man City vs Chelsea: Lukaku under fire over poor performance

Chelsea attacker, Romelu Lukaku, has been heavily criticised by fans after the Belgian squandered a glorious opportunity to put the Blues ahead against Manchester City by attempting to set up Hakim Ziyech.

With just over nine minutes gone in the first half at the Etihad, Lukaku found himself in space after spinning away from John Stones and galloping towards City’s goal.

However, rather than entering the box at pace and looking to test Ederson, Lukaku attempted to play Ziyech in with a through ball to his right.

Also, Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel voiced his frustration at Romelu Lukaku after Kevin De Bruyne’s brilliant strike beat the Blues 1-0 to open up a 13-point lead at the top of the table.

A tale of two Belgian internationals saw Lukaku spurn a chance to silence his critics early in the second half before De Bruyne produced the one outstanding moment of quality in the game by curling home from outside the box.

A 12th consecutive league win for the champions strengthens City’s grip on the title race as they streak towards a fourth league crown in five seasons.

Chelsea got the better of Pep Guardiola’s men in last season’s Champions League final, but securing their place in Europe’s top club competition next season now looks like the height of their ambitions for the rest of the Premier League season.

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The Blues remain second but have won just one of their last six league games.

“Our offensive players need to show up more. We need consistency. Chelsea is not a place to hide,” said Tuchel.

Lukaku was supposed to be the final piece required to turn the European champions into challengers for City’s title over the long haul.

But he has scored just twice in his last 11 league appearances either side of being dropped for voicing his unhappiness at how the season has gone since a club-record £98 million move from Inter Milan to Italian media.

And Tuchel rejected suggestions the striker is starved of service.

“Sometimes he needs to do the service,” added the German. “He had many ball losses without any pressure. He had a big chance. 

“Of course we want to serve him but the performance up front, we have to do much better.”

City dominated possession throughout but struggled to open up a makeshift Chelsea defence featuring second-choice goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga and Malang Sarr on just his second Premier League appearance.

“We cannot forget who we played, they are European champions, and how incredible a side they are,” said Guardiola. “They defended well, they waited for transition to punish us and we won from one transition.”

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