Chelsea FC: Should Romelu Lukaku Be Recalled from His Loan at West Brom?

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistOctober 24, 2012

CHESTER, PA - JULY 25: Romelu Lukaku #18 of Chelsea handles the ball in the first hlaf against MLS All-Stars during the 2012 AT&T MLS All-Star Game at PPL Park on July 25, 2012 in Chester, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

With concern growing about Chelsea's strike force after their 2-1 loss to Shakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday in the Champions League, many are wondering if it is time for Romelu Lukaku to take the spot of Fernando Torres in the starting lineup.

Lukaku was sent out on loan to West Brom at the beginning of the season to get first-team experience in the EPL.

However, that plan has been sent off track with the success to the start of the season that West Brom has had under new manager Steve Clarke.

Clarke has led his club to seventh place in the EPL table through their first eight matches and with that success the first-time manager has favored veteran Shane Long over Lukaku up front.

Long has been the starter for Clarke in seven matches while Lukaku's only start came on September 22nd against Reading.

Other than the 78 minutes he played against Reading, Lukaku has played an average of 21 minutes in the other seven matches, with his longest appearance as a substitute coming against Fulham on September 15 when he came on at halftime for Long.

With Chelsea facing a shortage of replacements for Torres up front, one has to ask if Lukaku would be better off if he went back to his club and fought for a first-team spot there instead of doing the same at West Brom.

If you count Victor Moses as a true forward, the Blues have only three options to play as the lone striker in Roberto di Matteo's lineup.

Di Matteo has been held back even more with the injury issues of Daniel Sturridge, who just returned to action in the past week in the club's matches against Tottenham and Shakhtar.

The man who has been starting up front for the Blues has been the much-maligned Torres, who has not escaped criticism since his move to Stamford Bridge in January 2011.

The Spanish forward has played the full 90 minutes up front for the EPL leaders in all but one EPL match, the one exception came in the Blues' 0-0 draw with QPR where he played 81 minutes before being taken off for Sturridge.

In eight EPL matches, Torres has only scored four times and only twice since the beginning of September.

In Chelsea's three Champions League matches, Torres has been non-existent in the scoring of the club's seven goals.

Another reason to bring Lukaku back from The Hawthorns is the difference in his style of play from the one of Torres.

Lukaku is more of an aerial threat and a physical presence in the penalty area than the speedy Torres.

With a very talented midfield that is more than able to send crosses into the penalty area for an aerial threat like Lukaku, which makes it an even easier argument to bring to the Belgian back to Stamford Bridge.

It may take a few more weeks of struggling play up front and maybe a loss or two more for di Matteo to realize he needs Lukaku back in the Chelsea lineup.

With Sturridge coming back from injury, the Englishman may get a chance to succeed up front in place of Torres.

If neither of di Matteo's options at the forward position do well in the upcoming weeks, look for the 19-year-old Belgian to be welcomed back to Stamford Bridge with hopes that he can solve Chelsea's growing problem at the forward position.


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