Romelu Lukaku has defended his goalscoring record against the rest of the big six, but how does the Manchester United striker compare to Harry Kane, Sergio Aguero and Jamie Vardy?
Lukaku had scored seven goals in his first seven Premier League games for United going into the weekend but drew his second blank of the season in the 0-0 draw at Liverpool.
The Belgium striker has also scored three goals in two Champions League games, plus against Real Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup, but his record against the top clubs was back on the agenda after he failed to find the net at Liverpool.
Lukaku could point to a lack of service as justification for his solitary shot on target at Anfield – he touched the ball only 22 times – but since arriving in the Premier League in 2011 the 24-year-old has scored only 15 goals in 57 games against Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham, leading to suggestions he is a flat-track bully.
It is hardly surprising, of course, that most of Lukaku’s goals have come against the division’s weaker teams. The same could be said of any striker in the world – and Lukaku has played the vast majority of his games for West Brom and Everton.
Though some will argue the best strikers create their own opportunities, it is hardly fair to compare Lukaku’s record against the big six to Kane or Aguero, who have always played for top clubs themselves.
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It was a point Lukaku made himself over the weekend.
“When I was at Everton we had a different mindset going into games,” he said. “Sometimes it was difficult against some teams when you play not to win and you don’t really create chances.
“Now I am in a team who want to win against big teams so I think the situation will change.”
While comparing Lukaku to Kane or Aguero may not be entirely fair, it is worth noting his record also falls someway short of Vardy’s since the England striker was promoted to the Premier League with Leicester City in 2014.
In just over three seasons since then, Lukaku has scored five goals in 36 appearances against the big six, one of which was a penalty, whereas Vardy has scored 19 goals from 37 appearances, two of which came from the spot.
The fact that Leicester won the league in 2015-16 suggests Vardy has at times benefitted from a more attacking team approach than Lukaku may have been a part of at Everton, but he will still no doubt be keen to prove his mettle in the big games this season to end these criticisms for good.
Vardy’s scoring rate versus the big six (0.51 goals per game) is almost identical to that of Kane, who has scored 14 goals in 27 appearances since the start of 2014-15 at a rate of 0.52 per game.
Aguero, however, is on another level, having scored 20 goals in 28 games against the rest of the big six in that same period, at an incredible rate of 0.71 per game.
Lukaku has scored at a rate of only 0.14 per game but has the chance to improve on that before Christmas, with United facing Tottenham, Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City in that time.
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