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LISTEN! ROM WILL BE A GOAL MACHINE IF MOURINHO LETS HIS STARS OFF THE LEASH; MANCHESTER UNITED v NEWCASTLE UNITED PREMIER LEAGUE OLD TRAFFORD, TOMORROW, KO 5.30PM; Owen backs Lukaku to score 25 goals and says someone's due a hammering.

Byline: SIMON BIRD

MICHAEL OWEN is convinced Romelu Lukaku will hit 25 goals this season.

But the England legend questioned whether the PS75million star, along with Manchester United's attacking players, are being "allowed off the leash".

Lukaku has not scored for seven games for United, after poaching 11 goals in his first 10 since his summer transfer from Everton.

He did break Belgium's alltime scoring record this week, notching his 31st for his country while still only 24.

Former United and Liverpool striker Owen says someone is due for a hammering from Lukaku, as they prepare to face Newcastle at Old Trafford.

The BT pundit said: "He will score 25 goals-plus. I am sure he will. I think it is just a minor blip. He has a good record over the years against Newcastle.

"At Everton he would score in groups. He'd get a hat-trick, then a two and a four and a three, then he wouldn't score. I prefer my strikers to score one every game rather than in clumps like that, but someone will be on the end of a two or three-goal bashing by him very soon.

"A few weeks ago we were wondering whether he'd be breaking records, he had such a good start. We were asking if he'd become an alltime great because he was scoring relentlessly.

"He took to United like a duck to water and everything was perfect. Then all of a sudden a question mark comes.

"Jose Mourinho likes that kind of player - a big targetman that scores goals and could do two players' jobs in one. He very rarely gets injured and is almost guaranteed to get goals."

Asked what Lukaku should do to end his drought, Owen added: "We are all human. At the start of my career I used to think the pressure is on and I have to score.

"That's not really the way - you start to become snatchy and grabby. You are just thinking about goals and not your usual game. I'd advise any i striker just to remember what got you there. "Lukaku's goal record is unbelievable and no one is questioning, no sane person, whether he will score more goals this season. It is just a minor run without a goal and he will definitely start scoring again if he sticks to his h go j t beliefs. Having Paul Pogba (below) back from injury this week or next will help. He is a creative player and been given that creative role under Mourinho."

Owen reckons the Premier League is set up for a titanic battle between tManchester giants, with fascinating contrast in styles.

City, Owen says, are "blowing teams away"with 38 goals so far to go eight points clear of United in second, who have 23.

But he reckons history favours the more defensive-minded team to grind it out and win trophies.

Owen (left) added: "United are brilliant at the back, they can score goals from anywhere.

"Are their attacking players totally utilised and getting total freedom? I question that.

"Can that transform into a league winning team? It probably can.

"It depends if Manchester City can keep going. United fans looking over the road at City, it might frustrate them slightly that they have good attacking expansive players, but they're not let off the leash because Jose has one eye on defending.

"That is just his style.

"It has been right the way through his career.

You don't necessarily have to play great in the way Jose sets his tM Live teams up whereas for Manchester City or Liverpool, teams that are more expansive, you have to play well to win and you don't always play well.

"People I talk to, and I believe this as well, question whether City can win the Champions League playing head-to-head the way they do.

"Does a cautious team always spoil the tie and beat a team that is expansive and outplays another team? At the moment Manchester City are blowing everyone away.

"But we were in this position last season. City look like they have better players this year, but I think the tried and trusted approach of keeping it tight at the back has ground its way to victory in many a Champions League and Premier League.

"As a purist you would love to see a team like a Liverpool or Manchester City succeed.

"But strictly looking at the past, you would think it's a safer option to keep it tight at the back. It will be fascinating how it plays out."

WATCH Manchester United v Newcastle on BT Sport 1 tomorrow from 5pm. BT Sport is where the best go head-tohead in the Premier League, UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League and Emirates FA Cup. For more info visit btsport.com I CAN HEAR THE CHEERS Owen reckons Lukaku will be scoring again soon and the fans will be chanting the striker's name

United are brilliant at the back. But do their attackers get to play with enough freedom? ROMELU LUKAKU Matches .. 197 Goals . 92 Wins 81 Losses . 67 and Man Utd Matches 11 Goals.7
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Nov 17, 2017
Words:853
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