It was the day he had been waiting for, ten years on from originally signing from Chelsea and Romelu Lukaku was walking out of the tunnel as the club’s main striker. And what an impressive second debut it was for the Belgian striker.
Having opened the scoring – finishing off a great move with a tap-in which we was involved in the build up with some great hold-up play – Lukaku also played his part in the second as Chelsea played from left to right for Reece James to eventually smash home.
|Lukaku celebrates after opening the scoring against The Gunners.|
But it was late in the game with Chelsea in full flow and looking well the more likely to add to the scoring than any potential Arsenal comeback happening, when the 28-year-old striker found himself in disbelief.
The moment arrived amongst a dominant second half in which Thomas Tuchel’s men come forward with purpose. Reece James pulled the ball back to the edge of the right edge of the box to Mason Mount. During this time, Lukaku had positioned himself in front of Arsenal centre back Rob Holding and as the cross came in from Mount, Lukaku attacked it with pure menace. He couldn’t have connected better.
Bernard Leno, just yards in front of a diving Lukaku header, somehow managed to get his fingertips to it, directing it on to the bar as Lukaku waited for the net to bulge.
What a save! 🤯
Lukaku powers a header at goal from eight yards but Leno is across quickly to get a hand to it and pushes it onto the crossbar! 💥 pic.twitter.com/tQB3CgqzVK
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) August 22, 2021
As the away end in the corner figured out how Chelsea hadn’t put what would have been the cherry on top of a solid performance in North London with a third goal, Lukaku picked himself up off the ground, seeking clarification that the German goalkeeper had indeed got a touch. Leno, looked as cold as ice as his team mates showed appreciation, just as if it was a routine save.
With some what 15 minutes to play in the match in which Mikel Arteta’s side struggled to cope with a dominant Chelsea, Leno’s save may have been enough to stop Lukaku and his team mates running riot and increasing the margin of the scoreline.
The £97.5m signing from Inter Milan may have wondered just how he had been denied a brace on his return to the Premier League, but Lukaku sent a clear message to the rest of the contenders with this performance. He, and what is arguably the strongest squad in Premier League history will no doubt be ready to face Liverpool at Stamford Bridge next week as Chelsea look to make it three wins out of three and send out an early statement of intent over their rivals.
|Lukaku salutes the away end after an impressive debut in North London.|
Featured Image Credit: PA Images