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Crystal Palace vs Chelsea

Lukaku records just seven touches against Crystal Palace as Chelsea striker flops again

18:15 GMT 19/02/2022
Romelu Lukaku main image
The striker was an anonymous figure at Selhurst Park as his side laboured to victory

Romelu Lukaku was a virtual spectator in Chelsea's narrow victory over Crystal Palace on Saturday, barely featuring in the game at all and not even reaching double figures in touches.

The Blues strengthened their hold on third place with a 1-0 win at Selhurst Park, thanks to Hakim Ziyech's 89th minute strike.

But Lukaku once more failed to impress, or indeed even make himself noticed out on the pitch in south London.

Lukaku goes missing

The ex-Inter man recorded the first touch of the afternoon on Saturday, kicking off for Chelsea to get proceedings underway.

But that was about all Chelsea fans saw of him in a dire opening 45 minutes for the Belgian, who mustered just one more touch before the half-time whistle blew.

The second half was hardly any better and he finished the match having had contact with the ball on just seven occasions, one of which was that kick-off - fewer than any Premier League player since Opta data started being recorded (2003-04).

The bigger picture

Lukaku returned to Stamford Bridge to great fanfare over the summer, having proved crucial in Inter's successful bid to reclaim the Serie A title from Juventus for the first time in 10 years.

But his second spell at Chelsea has so far fallen well short of expectations following his reported club record £97.5 million move.

The Belgian managed 24 Serie A goals last term but has netted just five times in 17 Premier League games this time round, while he also provoked the wrath of the Chelsea support with an explosive Sky Sport Italia interview in December in which he admitted misgivings over manager Thomas Tuchel's methods and that he had never wanted to leave Inter in the first place.

Questioned over Lukaku's dismal display on Saturday, Tuchel told reporters: "I'm not so sure if I have a good answer. I don't know what it says.

"It says he was obviously not involved and could not make a point today. I am not sure if it says so much about us in general."

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