Football is such a game where one fine minute you will be the heralded messiah for millions and the very next minute with one howler tagged to your name, you will not only be vilified but you will probably be sent packing to someplace which is a sanctum-sanctorum for pushovers. It is a beautiful and yet one of the most gruesome games to grace the earth.
Like the famous Napoleon once cited, “Glory is fleeting and obscurity is forever”, we are going to sneak a peek into a quadruplet of strikers, divided into two parts, who has been a shadow of their former scintillating self and their current form is nothing more than a presence, a presence which is next to nothing.
4. Gabriel Jesus:
Gabriel Jesus was highly industrious in the preceding season of Premier League and was one of the most hankered-for names in the fray as he fired on all guns blazing right next to another City legend, Kun Aguero. His presence in the Brazilian squad abreast Neymar was anticipated to be a blessing. However, right since the inception of the World Cup, Jesus started misfiring.
He was seen to be wandering aimlessly in the park and was hardly a force to reckon with which Brazil could have been a juggernaut that they were surmised to be.
With only 5 shots fired at Russia, He only managed to get one of them on target and that was an absolute toothless one which was comfortably collected by Keylor Navas in their bout against Costa Rica.
To add to his woes, his profligacy kissed astronomical proportions in the quarter-final where he probably could have buried the ball past Courtois for at the least thrice, he even failed to nudge the ball towards the goal for once.
After Brazil’s World Cup dream shattered at the hands of a high-soaring Belgium, Jesus returned to the Etihad. However, the change of circumstances did him no good either.
On the contrary, his declivity still continued. Despite finding the back of the net once in the three games played so far by City in the ongoing Premier League, Jesus has been quite indifferent and has been tremendously off-colour so far.
His loss of form is going to impinge Pep Guardiola in quite a significant way. With Raheem Sterling turning into the prodigal child, Guardiola will look forward towards Kun Aguero and Jesus to fire. Now Aguero is a marvelous sensation in the League given his sudden moments of impeccable brilliance.
However, there are periods of stasis from Aguero which sends the entire outfit looking for a messiah. With Kevin De Bruyne out for three months, the crux of Manchester City will be Gabriel Jesus. If his receding tailspin continues, it will not be long that Guardiola will probably start looking for an apt sub.
3. Romelu Lukaku:
Big Rom created a ripple effect right at the outset of the World Cup. After narrating his story from his struggling childhood to being the marksman of Belgium, Lukaku has had one helluva roller-coaster ride.
However, Lukaku seems to have left his phenomenal-self way behind at Everton. Despite starting in quite an exuberant fashion at Anderlecht, Lukaku hit a whirlwind of sloppy performances at Chelsea.
After being loaned out to West Brom, Lukaku started firing again. His staggering figures of 17 goals from only 35 matches earned him a season with Everton. Lukaku came out in flying colours at Goodison Park scoring an astonishing 53 goals from 110 appearances. Such gilt-edged performances started riveting the eyes of giants again.
It was at this very crucial juncture when United let go of their Swedish talisman, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and boarded him to fill the massive boots of Zlatan. Despite starting on a fabulous note, Lukaku started drying up soon enough.
He seemed short of fuel to run, short of motivation to score and even worse, started squandering sitters at will, which were easier to score than to miss.
In the recent humiliating loss which United suffered to Brighton despite Lukaku’s goal, United was absolutely abysmal in all the departments, especially up front. Lukaku could have drawn first blood but shot for the stars from point-blank range. After scoring United’s opener, Lukaku seemed to lollygag in the Albion box. He was never at the end of any minatory pass which could have spelled doom for Albion.
The case will similar once again in the humiliating 3-0 loss to Spurs that happened on Monday evening. He looked totally out of sorts, when the team needed someone to take charge up front.
To cite loss of form in his case will be absolutely naive. He never had any form from which he tumbled over. It was always mediocrity from this Belgian juggernaut.
With the recent gulf between Mourinho and Ed Woodward, United seems to be absolutely in tatters.
Now with Lukaku’s sloppy appearance up front, United will have to find someone who is capable of scoring in every single match if United has to emulate themselves from the preceding seasons.