Bournemouth continued their strong start to the season following recent wins in the Carabao Cup and Premier League against Norwich City and Fulham.
The Cherries are now set to welcome Manchester United to the Vitality Stadium on Saturday when they return to league duty with Jose Mourinho’s men having also performed well of late.
As far as individual form goes, though, striker Romelu Lukaku currently finds himself in a slump and faces a difficult task of getting out of it when he comes up against his former Chelsea team-mate Nathan Ake on Saturday.
While Lukaku has been struggling, Ake is arguably in the form of his life right now. The 23-year-old has been at the heart of a Bournemouth defence who have managed to keep four Premier League clean sheets so far this season with only Manchester City (7), Liverpool (6) and Chelsea (5) managing to earn more.
But along with his large contribution to Bournemouth’s impressive defensive record, Ake has also had a significant role in his side’s attacking exploits.
Ake’s composure on the ball and ability to play out from the back is often the foundation of Bournemouth’s offensive moves, while the Dutchman has managed to grab a goal for himself, too.
The Netherlands international has since attracted interest from Tottenham (via Sky Sports) but, if there is any team in the top six who could do with his services right now, then it is Manchester United given the defensive frailties they have shown this season.
TT Grade: A-
Having been dropped to the bench in Manchester United’s 2-1 victory over Everton, Lukaku needs a big game on Saturday should he be recalled to the starting XI.
The Red Devils look extremely fluid and more of a threat in attack with Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Juan Mata playing in the forward positions, leaving Lukaku in a very delicate predicament.
That being said, the 25-year-old certainly has the ability to turn things around and is still Mourinho’s ideal vision of a centre-forward.
Lukaku is strong, dominant in the air, can hold up the ball and has the technical skill to finish well on his day.
Overall, Lukaku has been a good signing for Manchester United and is easily one of the leading No.9s in the Premier League. But at £75m (via BBC Sport), the Belgium international should be offering more.
TT Grade: B
The potential clash between Ake and Lukaku could prove to be an entertaining one with the ex-Chelsea pair both being high-calibre personnel in their positions.
But, in this moment of time, Ake will surely fancy his chances going up against Lukaku and will be confident he can nullify the Manchester United man.
All in all, with Bournemouth paying just £20m (via BBC Sport) for Ake compared to the £75m the Red Devils splashed out on Lukaku, the central defender looks the better value-for-money signing.
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