Romelu Lukaku Bags Brace, Keeps Chelsea Near Top of Table

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Chelsea beat Aston Villa today, powered by a brace from summer splash signing Romelu Lukaku. Although it’s still very early, Big Rom seems to be the missing piece that Stamford Bridge needed in their push for a Premier League title.

After four games, the Blues are level on points and goal differential with league leading Manchester United, and Lukaku is a big reason why. He scored in the 15′, and again in the third minute of extra time. Mateo Kovacic completed the scoring for the hosts.

The win was Chelsea’s 600th in league play, joining United (690) as the only clubs to top that magical mark. On a press call with CBS Sports’ leading soccer pundits a couple days ago, I asked about the chances of Chelsea repeating as UCL champs.

They said Lukaku was the key.

“I think Chelsea is definitely in there with a realistic shot of defending their title,” said Peter Schmeichel. “I think the signing of (Romelu) Lukaku is massive.

“It’s a bit sad as a Manchester United supporter to see Lukaku leave United to go to Inter, only to come back, and to one of your competitors.

“He’s a goal machine, and it’s one of the things they were lacking in their game, even in winning the Champions League was converting their many chances, but with him their is a chance they can retain the title.”

Chelsea commence their UCL title defense on Tuesday, when they take on Zenit St. Petersburg of the Russian Premier League.

Fellow CBS pundit Jamie Carragher added the following on Lukaku and how he raises the prospects for the west London side:

“I agree with Peter, I think Chelsea this season are a much stronger proposition with Lukaku, and a manager who knows this team so much better now than even last season.

“And I think Chelsea’s model of recruitment is as good as anything in European football.”

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank, partnered with News NowBanks, the author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America” and “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” has regularly appeared in WGNSports Illustrated and the Chicago Tribune.

Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

 

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