First the interview, now the invisibility.
Romelu Lukaku has mostly been a conundrum since returning to Chelsea last summer and while the £97.5m striker has not done much talking off the pitch since that ill-advised chat with Sky Italia, nothing summed up his struggles more than when he delivered a performance of record-breaking anonymity against Crystal Palace last Saturday.
This was Lukaku at his most laboured, predictable and disconnected from his teammates. He touched the ball a grand total of seven times, the fewest in 90 minutes of Premier League football for any player since Opta began keeping track in 2003, and nobody was about to argue that he was merely keeping his powder dry for the big moments.
Even Thomas Tuchel, who desperately needs the Belgian to find form, is not putting a positive spin on the numbers. Chelsea’s manager understands their significance and he was unsure whether he can help Lukaku by tweaking his tactical approach when the European champions host Lille in the last 16 of the Champions League on Tuesday night.