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Manchester United beat Brighton to keep their FA Cup hopes alive. And it was done because of Romelu Lukaku – not Paul Pogba and Alexis Sanchez.
Sanchez and Pogba are Manchester United’s two undisputed superstars. When the former arrived from Arsenal in January, it was meant to be the start of something special.
But tonight was the Red Devils’ biggest game of the season. And, days after a Sevilla shock, they were both left on the bench.
In their absence, stepped up Lukaku. Sure, his first touch can be woefully bad. But there are signs he is becoming a truly blockbuster player.
At the start of the season, Lukaku was banging in goals left right and centre. There was a feeling he would be a golden boot winner in his first season at Old Trafford – something not seen since Robin van Persie.
Alas, that won’t be happening. Harry Kane and Mohamed Salah, amongst others, have seen to that.
Lukaku is, though, improving. He is an upgrade on anything United have had post-Sir Alex Ferguson and yes, that includes a certain Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
His goal against Brighton was his 25th across all competitions. Ibrahimovic managed 28 last term. Lukaku, though, contributes more than just goals with his pace and power always a constant threat.
Downing the Albion also came after recent displays against Liverpool and Chelsea, where he caused them all sorts of problems. Last week, against the former, he was sensational.
And against Chelsea, he was enterprising too. A goal and assist marked a fine display and he deservedly went home with the Man of the Match award.
Pogba and Sanchez are in his rather large shadow. Mourinho has not hid his admiration for Lukaku and now everybody else is beginning to see why.
His attitude is exemplary. There is a hunger to win, a drive to improve. It’s clear to see Sanchez and Pogba are missing both things at the moment.
Whether they can rediscover their mojo is a question only time will be able to tell.
But, for now at least, Lukaku is United’s main man. More than can be said for the two players, who earn more than him, who could not even make it off the bench.