Daily Mail - - Athletics -

IF Manchester United are look­ing to make a fly­ing start this sea­son, then Romelu Lukaku is most def­i­nitely their man. The first vis­i­tors to Old Traf­ford on Au­gust 13 are West Ham, and they are Lukaku’s mark. In four sea­sons at Ever­ton, he scored in nine games against West Ham. He likes As­ton Villa, too, scor­ing in five games over three sea­sons, and Crys­tal Palace, with four scor­ing ap­pear­ances. Sign­ing for United solves an­other prob­lem, too, be­cause he cer­tainly doesn’t thrive against them: a run of 10 games with­out a goal. He never scored a League goal against Chelsea for Ever­ton, ei­ther — al­beit he couldn’t play against them when on loan — and just one against Tot­ten­ham. He does bet­ter against Manchester City, and rea­son­ably against Arse­nal and Liver­pool. But his over­all record against the top six clubs amounts to 16 goals in 57 ap­pear­ances. This does not make Lukaku a dud. Diego Costa did not score against Manchester United or Tot­ten­ham last sea­son, and only against Arse­nal in the FA Cup, and Chelsea still won the League. Yet the last time Manchester United claimed the ti­tle — sea­son 2012-13 — Robin van Per­sie was pro­lific against their big­gest ri­vals. He scored against ev­ery op­po­nent in the top 10, bar ninth-placed Swansea. He scored against Liver­pool and Arse­nal home and away. And Manchester United are not spend­ing £75m on a striker to fin­ish out­side of the top four again. They can­not guar­an­tee, and would not want, an­other Europa League lifeline.

Sign on: Lukaku meets a United fan and now has to de­liver suc­cess

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