Jamie Redknapp: Romelu Lukaku can make difference for Chelsea FC in title race

Jamie Redknapp highlights the importance of Romelu Lukaku if Chelsea FC hope to win the title

Jamie Redknapp
Jamie Redknapp (Sky Sports / Screen grab)

Jamie Redknapp believes Chelsea FC can win the Premier League title this season – but warned the Blues will need to keep Romelu Lukaku fit to challenge Liverpool FC and Manchester City.

Chelsea FC were looking to get their Premier League title bid back on track away at Aston Villa on Sunday evening following successive stalemates with Everton and Wolverhampton Wanderers over the past week or so.

But Reece James scored an own-goal in the 28th minute to give Aston Villa the lead in the first half despite the hosts being without their manager Steven Gerrard due to Covid-19.

Chelsea FC were level before half-time when Jorginho scored from the penalty spot in the 34th minute after Matty Cash’s poor challenge brought down Callum Hudson-Odoi.

Thomas Tuchel turned to Lukaku at half-time and the Belgium international scored in the 56th minute with a clinical header from Hudson-Odoi’s cross.

Lukaku proved the difference once again when the Belgian forward won the away side a second penalty in added time following Ezri Konsa’s challenge on the summer signing.

Jorginho made no mistake from the penalty spot to help Chelsea FC move back to within six points of leaders Manchester City after Pep Guardiola’s side were 6-3 winners against Leicester City in the day’s early kick-off.

Asked if Lukaku was key to Chelsea FC’s title hopes after their 3-1 win, Redknapp told Sky Sports: “Absolutely key.

“Chelsea have two really good games for them next. We’re going to find out a lot about this Chelsea team. They look a different proposition with Lukaku up front.

“When they can get Lukaku and Kante on the pitch, they’re the much better side. Of course they can be in the title race.

“Liverpool FC and Man City are the better teams right now but Lukaku will play a massive role if Chelsea can win it.”

Lukaku has scored four times in 11 games in the Premier League since his return to the Blues in an £89m move from Inter Milan in the summer transfer window.

But the Belgian striker is hoping to put his fitness issues behind him as the Premier League title race hots up.

“I needed a performance like this,” Lukaku told Sky Sports.

“It’s been difficult getting the end of games. I kept working hard. I’m happy with my performance and have to push on.

“I try to be less static and on the move all the time. It was a brilliant cross.

“My preferred action is running into space, using my speed and my power.

“We are the hunters now. The last results were not the best and now we have to chase. We have to treat every game like a final. Today we won and now we have to push on.”

Chelsea FC will welcome Brighton to Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night in their next Premier League game before the south west London side take on Liverpool FC at Stamford Bridge on Sunday 2 January.

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