Saturday, Chelsea’s record signing managed just two shots as the Blues beat League One opponents 2-1 at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea defeated Plymouth in a close game (2-1).
Marcos Alonso’s extra-time goal and a late Kepa Arrizabalaga penalty save rescued Chelsea from a possible FA Cup fourth-round exit at the hands of Plymouth Argyle on Saturday.
After the Club World Cup, the Blues were looking forward to a straightforward home encounter against League One opposition.
Chelsea had a full squad at Stamford Bridge despite the absence of Thomas Tuchel, who tested positive for Covid-19. Romelu Lukaku, the club’s record acquisition, led the line following a much-needed winter break.
Although he was expected to dominate the competition, the £98 million ($136 million) guy had to put in a lot of effort.
Just the latest in a string of alarming performances since Lukaku’s interview with Sky Sport Italia was unethical and unapproved.
Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso both came off the bench to save the day for the Belgian, who was unable to capitalize on Macaulay Gillesphey’s first-half opener.
After all of that, Plymouth still had a chance to force extra time and penalties, but with only three minutes remaining, Kepa Arrizabalaga stopped a penalty kick from Plymouth attacker Ryan Hardie.
Alonso and Kepa’s heroics will garner headlines, but much of the post-match attention will certainly be focused on Lukaku, who failed miserably to exhibit any of the traits that convinced Chelsea to re-sign their former striker over the summer.
However, he never really threatened to score, and his effort was best summed up by a terrible overhit ball to Timo Werner in the last minute.
In the end, he had only two shots on target and only 13 touches in the penalty area.
After the Sky interview, he’s now gone five games without a goal and has only scored against non-league Chesterfield in the third round of the FA Cup since.
However, he wasn’t the only one who struggled against Plymouth. Despite having a week to prepare for the game following a week off, the entire team struggled throughout the first half.
Substitute Kai Havertz failed to make an impression as Callum Hudson-Odoi was taken off early, while Hakim Ziyech, Timo Werner, and Mason Mount also failed to make an effect.
Lukaku, on the other hand, remains the most pressing problem with an attack that isn’t working as planned.
He’s been given consistent playing time and a variety of different formations to try out, but he still manages to deceive with his words and actions.
It’s becoming increasingly difficult for Tuchel to coach with him in the lineup because of his inconsistency.
The German is anxious to find a method to get the most out of Lukaku after finding it difficult to work with either Neymar or Kylian Mbappe in his previous role at Paris Saint-Germain.
Tuchel, like the rest of the stadium’s patrons, must have been frustrated by Chelsea’s ineffective striker while he sat in his seat at home.
For the Blues manager, getting Lukaku back on the scoresheet is critical because he can no longer rely on defenders and goalkeepers to save his team from relegation every time they get into trouble.