Manchester United got the win against Bournemouth Saturday — just barely. But one thing that stood out? Romelu Lukaku didn’t play. In fact, Lukaku didn’t even feature in the squad as he was left off entirely. But there’s a very good reason for that. Lukaku is dealing with an injury at the moment, and manager José Mourinho seems to be very worried about it.
“I have to wait until Monday,” Mourinho told ESPN’s Rob Dawson on Saturday. “He needs these couple of days. It was something in training. We don’t know — a muscle problem — and we have to wait a little bit.”
In 10 Premier League matches this season, the Belgian center forward has four goals. In all competitions (14 appearances), that total doesn’t increase. Since coming over to Manchester United last summer, Lukaku has 31 goals and nine assists in 65 competitive matches for the Red Devils.
Without him, they picked up a much-needed three points. And yet, they still sit behind the team they just beat (on goal differential). Through 11 matches, United are on 20 points and seventh in the table. If Manchester City win again this weekend, they’ll go nine points clear of Mourinho’s side after just 11 matches. It looks like things are already getting out of control early on.
And if Lukaku has to miss an extended period of time, things could get really ugly. The likes of Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial — who both came through on Saturday — will need to continue to step up. But they’re a better side with the Belgian on the field.