Arsenal have received a boost ahead of their match against Manchester United at the weekend, as Romelu Lukaku escapes a ban for an alleged kick in their match against Brighton.
BBC reported early on Monday that Lukaku could face action for a couple of kicks aimed at Brighton defender Gaetan Bong.
There were fears that the Belgian could receive a three-match ban for the incident, which would have ruled him out of Saturday’s match at the Emirates.
Fortunately, a panel of three ex-Premier League referees reviewed the incident, and didn’t agree it was a sending off offence. Arsenal fans can rest easy, Lukaku is free to start against the Gunners.
Marcus Rashford has two goals in three appearances against Wenger’s side, Zlatan Ibrahimovic has three in seven, whereas Lukaku only has three in 12 – one of which was a penalty. If I could choose which of the three strikers I would want Arsenal lining up against on Saturday, it’d be the latter.
Aside from that penalty, which Lukaku wasn’t involved in winning, it’s been more than three full seasons since the striker last scored in the league against Arsenal. And when you look at his record in the big league games, and things get even worse.
The Chelsea flop already averaged less than half as many goals against the big six (0.26 per game) than any other clubs (0.57 per game), according to ESPN earlier this year. But the argument from United fans was that he was playing for a small club, and would step up his game now he was surrounded by superstars.
That hasn’t turned out to be the case. Lukaku faced Liverpool, then Spurs, then Chelsea, and couldn’t get on the score-sheet on a single occasion. Lacazette has a goal against Manchester City, but that’s as good as it gets.
The Belgian international only has one league goal since the start of October, a late effort in a match United were already winning by two goals. His early form has all but disappeared, and he hasn’t been any good against Arsenal in the first place.
All-in-all, it’s great news for the Gunners that Lukaku will be available, and hopefully the 24-year-old will keep some of United’s more dangerous strikers on the sidelines.