Sunday, March 18, 2018 11:23:08 PM
AFP, London :
Romelu Lukaku's remarkable scoring record against West Ham United means he will expect to hit the ground running when he makes his Premier League debut for Manchester United on Sunday.
The Belgium international, 24, scored nine goals in his first nine appearances against West Ham for former team Everton before the east London club finally kept him at bay in a 0-0 draw last April.
Lukaku scored a consolation goal as United lost 2-1 to Real Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup in the Macedonian capital Skopje on Tuesday and his team-mates have been impressed by what they have seen in pre-season.
"Lukaku has done a great job with the clubs that he has been at," said United right-back Antonio Valencia.
"I am a kid next to Romelu. He truly is strong. I have seen him work on the field and in the gym.
"It's truly incredible to see his strength, power and the intelligence he possesses. We hope it is a good year for him and the team."
Lukaku, a o75 million ($97.3 million, 82.4 million euros) capture from Everton, could be one of three players making league debuts for United on Sunday along with Victor Lindelof and Nemanja Matic.
United manager Jose Mourinho used a conservative 5-3-1-1 system against Real Madrid, but is likely to be bolder against West Ham, who have not won at Old Trafford in 10 years.
Mourinho has no new injury concerns, with Marcos Rojo, Luke Shaw and Ashley Young his only long-term absentees.
Defenders Eric Bailly and Phil Jones return to contention after sitting out the Super Cup through suspension.
Having led United to League Cup and Europa League glory last season, Mourinho's challenge for the new campaign is to turn them into title contenders.
"The Premier League is what you all know," Mourinho said on Friday.
"I'd say seven teams to fight for the title and 20 teams to fight for the victory every weekend, every match.
"The club are also what you know. We are involved in four competitions and step by step, match after match, we are going to fight."
United trailed home in sixth place last season, 24 points below champions Chelsea, and have finished in the top four just once since Alex Ferguson retired as manager in 2013.
Javier Hernandez was there as the rot set in under David Moyes and he will make his Old Trafford return on Sunday after joining West Ham from Bayer Leverkusen in a o16 million deal.
The 29-year-old Mexican, known as 'Chicharito' (Little Pea), was a crowd favourite during his five years at United, scoring 59 goals for the club and playing a part in two league title successes.
He admits it will be a strange experience to line up at his old stomping ground in the colours of a different team, but says he will not allow sentiment to cloud his focus.
"It's my old club with my old fans and my old stadium, so probably I cannot celebrate," he said.
"But as well it would be my first goal with my comeback with a club that has a lot of confidence in me."
West Ham manager Slaven Bilic has reshaped his squad extensively since last season's 11th-place finish.
Former Manchester City pair Joe Hart and Pablo Zabaleta and star signing Marko Arnautovic, a o20 million recruit from Stoke City, could all make their competitive debuts on Sunday.
Left-back Aaron Cresswell and captain Mark Noble are expected to shake off injuries, but Cheikhou Kouyate, Manuel Lanzini, Michail Antonio, Andy Carroll and Diafra Sakho are all sidelined.
AFTER the US-Bangla plane crash, the Prime Minister has instructed the Civil Aviation Authorities to give highest priority to flight safety and maintenance of planes. No doubt, it is a timely instruction. Though it is still unclear why the plane was crashed, the survivors said the aircraft was shuddering few ...
Noted Telugu and Tamil actress Surbhi is likely to be part of Tollywood star, Nikhil's upcoming Tollywood movie, as per latest updates. The makers are in talks to rope in the actor for the movie, added reports. The much awaited film is a Telugu remake blockbuster Telugu movie, Kanithan. The ...
AP, Moscow :The gulf between Russia and Britain widened on Friday as they cranked up pressure over a nerve agent attack and a suspected murder in Britain that have deepened Western worries about alleged Russian meddling abroad.Britain's foreign secretary accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of personally ordering the poisoning of ...
STEPHEN Hawking died at Cambridge in England on Monday at the age of 76. A scientific genius who rose to eminence by his work on theoretical physics explaining the system of universe is no more but the scientific world will remember him over the time to come. We join the ...
It has been a gruelling shooting schedule for Parineeti Chopra, who is currently filming for Namaste England. The actress has been pulling off all day long shoots as she is filming an energetic song sequence with her co-star Arjun Kapoor. `It has been insane for Parineeti. She has been dancing ...
Reuters, Tokyo :Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's support has fallen 9.4 points to 39.3 percent, a survey by Jiji news agency showed, as suspicion swirls over a suspected cover-up linked to cronyism, Abe's worst crisis since taking office.Abe and Finance Minister, Taro Aso, 77, have been under fire since the ...
MYANMAR is militarising Rakhine State at an alarming pace as it is building helipad and camps for security forces bulldozing Rohingya villages. The latest move is not only making security on Bangladesh border highly tense but also making difficult safe and voluntary return of Rohingya refugees even as a more ...
Sports Reporter :World-class all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan will play for Bangladesh against Sri Lanka in the last Robin League match of the Nidahas Trophy Tri-Nation Twenty20 Cricket Series at R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo today. Shakib Al Hasan joined Bangladesh squad in Colombo on Thursday. A BCB official said, " ...
While one complains of done to death storylines on television shows, there is Naamkaraan that believes in pushing the envelope and bring out new facets in its storyline. With the plot recently going through a leap, the protagonist of the show Aditi Rathore calls herself lucky, as she gets an ...
AFP, Beirut :Syria's lacerating conflict entered its eighth year Thursday with the country riven by international power struggles, as Turkey encircled a besieged northern Kurdish enclave, while Russian-backed regime forces pounded into shrinking rebel areas near Damascus.The bloodshed, which has devastated huge swathes of the country since it started on ...