Rich Laverty takes a look at some of the weekend’s action across the country, which includes Chelsea and Manchester United being on the right end of refereeing decisions and why Romelu Lukaku should be given more credit.
Chelsea have picked up that annoying old Manchester United trait
As a Manchester United fan, I remember the regular feeling of smugness as Ferguson’s sides constantly came through tough encounters – thanks to a bit of luck at either end of the field. Obviously followed by the usual barrage of ‘bias’ accusations towards whichever poor official was in charge of the game.
But boy did league leaders Chelsea take on that mantle this weekend, not that I’d suggest for one moment that Conte’s side haven’t fully earned their spot as likely Premier League winners. However, it was the timing of the two incidents which felt a bit United-esque. The way Cesar Azpilicueta got away with a handball before Pedro took advantage of some questionable goalkeeping just minutes later.
It brought back the memories of thinking to myself, ‘that’s what champions do’ because it just always seems to happen to the eventual champions. Good on ‘em…
Then again, Manchester United appear to have that trait back too
It really did feel like the United of old on Sunday as the hate radiated across social media as Jose Mourinho struggled his way to his first (proper) trophy with his new side. All kinds of stats were thrown around about lucky decisions for United this season – forgetting countless penalties turned down – as Manolo Gabbiadini wrongly saw a goal disallowed early in the EFL Cup final.
At 2-2 I remarked it would be very much like United of old to win the game but even that felt like a stretch given just how bad United were playing. But then up popped Zlatan Ibrahimovic just minutes after heading clear a corner back in his own area. It felt eerily similar to United’s last League Cup success in 2010 when Nemanja Vidic was lucky to still be on the pitch after just five minutes before Ferguson’s side turned around a 1-0 deficit to beat Aston Villa.
Then again, people are quick to forget United rattled the woodwork on several occasions before falling behind against Crystal Palace back in May!
When will Romelu Lukaku get the credit he deserves?
There’s no doubt Everton fans love him but he does appear to throw up the marmite problem when discussed among rival fans. Lukaku is 23 and just hit 77 Premier League goals, most of which have been for a side not exactly challenging for the title year in year out.
Overall, he’s scored 156 goals in his career at both club and international level, yet many were quick to snub his name when I said I’d love him at Old Trafford. Why wouldn’t you want someone who can regularly find the back of the net and isn’t even close to reaching his peak yet? No matter what he does for the Toffees, it feels like Lukaku won’t ever get the credit he deserves unless he moves on and continues to shine at one of the world’s top sides.
You can follow Rich on Twitter at @RichJLaverty