Last Sunday, Romelu Lukaku scored a brace against Burnley to help steer Manchester United’s season back on track. The Lukaku’s second goal was his 104th in the league and leveled him on all-time Premier League goals with Didier Drogba. While this might seem like a trivial fact, to match the goalscoring record of someone like Didier Drogba is a massive feat for the 25-year-old striker. Drogba is considered one of the best strikers in Premier League history, and one of Jose Mourinho’s best signings at Chelsea.
But how much do these strikers have in common? We’ve compared Lukaku and Kane, but in this article, we will be completing an in-depth tactical analysis of the Lukaku and Drogba. The analysis will assess their time in the Premier League as a whole, their best season in the Premier League, and their best season under Jose Mourinho.
Overall Premier League Statistics
The overall path towards 104 goals provides an interesting comparison between Romelu Lukaku and Didier Drogba. With only 30 games separating the players, Lukaku can claim he reached 104 goals quicker than his predecessor.
The Belgian averages 0.46 goals per game in the Premier League, suggesting he will have scored 117 goals by the time he reaches the same number of games played than Drogba. In minutes per goal, Drogba takes the lead with one goal ever 134 minutes to Lukaku’s one goal per 166 minutes.
Interestingly, Lukaku has taken 639 shots compared to Drogba’s 663. Of those shots, 292 of Lukaku’s were on target while only 232 of Drogba’s shot hit its mark. That’s a 60.08 per cent shooting accuracy for Lukaku and 43.61 per cent for Drogba.
Both players favoured playing inside the box, with 99 of Lukaku’s goals and 70 of Drogba’s goals coming from inside the 18-yard-box. Lukaku has been a bigger threat with his head, scoring 23 headers to Drogba’s 17.
The most interesting statistic, perhaps, concerns ‘big chances.’ According to the Premier League, Lukaku has scored 69 big chances to Drogba’s 8. He has also missed 75 big chances to Drogba’s 13. What the Premier League means by ‘big chances’ is not clear, but if the statistics are true, Lukaku should have many more goals to his name.
Best Season Statistics
Both players have been important to Jose Mourinho during his time in the Premier League, however, both players had their best seasons under different managers. Romelu Lukaku’s best season came under Ronald Koeman in 2016/17, while Drogba’s came under Carlos Ancelotti in 2009/10.
As you can see from the graphic above, the two strikers’ best campaigns are similar. Drogba scored 29 goals to Romelu Lukaku’s 25. Drogba scored 0.91 goals per match, while Lukaku only scored 0.68 goals per match. Lukaku scored every 131 minutes on the field while Drogba scored a goal every 96 minutes on the field.
When it comes to shot accuracy, Lukaku takes the cake again. The Belgian finished his best season with a 63.95 per cent shooting accuracy, while Drogba finished 2009/10 with a 46.85 per cent shooting accuracy.
Best Season Under Jose Mourinho Statistics
Before we explore these statistics it is important to note that Romelu Lukaku has only played one season under Jose Mourinho.
Both strikers’ best seasons under Mourinho don’t come close to their best seasons in the Premier League. With 20 goals for Drogba and 16 goals for Lukaku, the pair were more clinical under other management. The only statistic improved under Mourinho was Lukaku’s ability to assist, with seven compared to six.
During 2009/2010, Drogba took 178 shots. In 2006/07, he only took 121. In 2016/17, Romelu Lukaku took 110 shots, compared to last year’s 86.
These statistics should be taken with a grain of salt. Obviously, there is more to a striker than goalscoring and shot taking. But at the end of the day, under Mourinho, Romelu Lukaku and Didier Drogba scored less. Maybe they weren’t in their prime. Maybe there were other factors that contributed to this. Who knows what the real reason is?
If United adapt to a two-man striker partnership with Lukaku and Sanchez, it could completely change the way the Belgian plays. Much is to be determined about United’s season to come, but Lukaku will be vital, regardless of his role.
Both Lukaku and Drogba pose similar statistics throughout their career. Hopefully, Mourinho isn’t hindering the prolific Belgian during, and hopefully, the United frontman can leave with a legacy like Drogba’s. If he carries his World Cup form into the rest of the Premier League season, he might just do so. Only time will tell.