Premier League • England

Chelsea labelled ‘too predictable’ with Lukaku, as pundit picks preferred front three

Romelu Lukaku during a Chelsea match

Glen Johnson says Romelu Lukaku would not make his preferred front three at Chelsea and believes the Blues are “too predictable” when Lukaku leads the line.

Lukaku made a good start after arriving back at the club in the summer from Inter Milan for £97.5m. Thomas Tuchel wanted a no 9 and after three goals in his first three Premier League games, Lukaku looked like the man.

But things have gradually gone down hill and he has scored just twice since before he released that interview.

Speaking to Sky Italia just before the turn of the year, Lukaku made it clear things at Stamford Bridge were not fine.

“Physically I’m doing great. I’m just not very happy with the situation, but that’s normal,” Lukaku said. “I think the boss has decided to play a different formation but I have to stick at it and get on with it professionally.

“I’m not happy with the situation but it’s my job and I mustn’t give up.”

He has since apologised. And both he and Tuchel have tried to draw a line under the comments, which saw him left out of the draw with Liverpool.

The 28-year-old started the three Premier League games after that. But Chelsea managed to win just one of those and Johnson can see the problems of playing with the former Manchester United forward.

Asked about his best attacking Chelsea trio, Johnson told The Metro: “It depends who you’re playing against. I think [Hakim] Ziyech has to be in there.”

Tuchel asks Chelsea to push for Eder Militao from Real Madrid

Tuchel asks Chelsea to push for Eder Militao from Real Madrid

Thomas Tuchel wants Eder Militao in the summer from Real Madrid


“I like [Christian] Pulisic, I’d have Pulisic in there for me and I’d probably have Havertz when he’s just wandering around.

“Sometimes I think when Lukaku is there they’re just too predictable and of course for centre-halves you know where Lukaku is so it’s not hard to get close to him.

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Tuchel has tough job at Chelsea

“I just think with Havertz wandering around… he’s got to pull defenders out. Centre-halves don’t want want to move too far out of their slot. So I just think they look better that way.”

Johnson accepts Tuchel has one of the toughest jobs around such is the depth of the squad at Stamford Bridge.

“Tuchel wanted to be a manager of a top club so that’s what you’re going to get,” Johnson added.

“Only two or three [top players] can play but at the same time they’ve got an awful lot of games.

“It’s probably any top manager’s hardest job in terms of keeping everyone happy so it is a tough job.  But I’m sure he knows the type of person he’s signing so you’d like to think they’re good pros and accept when they’re not playing and work hard to try and change that for the week later.

“There’s no denying it the players will get frustrated and they will want to see some game time.”

READ MORE: Alarm bells ringing for Tuchel as Chelsea skipper deep in ‘talks’ with Barcelona