Everton came back from two goals down to defeat West Brom 3-2 at the Hawthorns on Monday, as record signing Romelu Lukaku scored a brace to complete a stunning comeback.
The victory moved the Toffees up to fifth place in the Premier League table.
The first half display did little to suggest what was about to come in the second period. Everton looked finished when Baggies defender Craig Dawson headed home on 54 minutes, but the men from Merseyside have some very potent attacking weapons at their disposal.
Lukaku’s brace was sandwiched in-between a strike from substitute Arouna Kone, who looked to be border-line offside. However, the striker had to be given the benefit of the doubt, as the decision was a very marginal one.
The comeback illustrated just how dangerous Everton can be to opposition defences when given the chances in front of goal. The Toffees were always going to have a chance of a comeback with the likes of Gerard Deulofeu, Lukaku, Kone and Ross Barkley in their team.
Lukaku will get most of the credit for this comeback, because of his two goals and assist for Kone, but mercurial Spanish winger Deulofeu deserves credit for the two superb crosses that set-up Lukaku’s goals.
The former-Barcelona star was enjoying his first Premier League start since making his £4million move to Merseyside. The youngster had impressed against Reading in the Capital One Cup in midweek, scoring the winning goal in a 2-1 win.
His attitude has been questioned at times, but it is plain to see that he has talent and flair. He often infuriates, but he also often enthrals with the ball at his feet. He could just be the ingredient that Everton so badly missed last season.
The youngster seems to have added work-rate to his game this season, which could just be the key to Deulofeu playing a bigger part in the Toffees Premier League campaign, and a successful career at Everton.
This season Toffees boss Roberto Martinez has arguably got the strongest squad that the Toffees have had in a long time. At the moment the likes of Leighton Baines, Tom Cleverley, Kevin Mirallas, John Stones and Seamus Coleman are all unavailable.
However, even without those players Martinez had the luxury of being able to bring the likes of Kone and Aaron Lennon off the bench. When Everton have a full-fit squad, then the Toffees could have a very strong squad.
Youngster Brendan Galloway has come into the team as a replacement for England international Baines, and he has hardly put a foot wrong. In fact against West Brom, the former-MK Dons youngster put in a fantastic last-ditch challenge to prevent Saido Berahino making it 3-1 to the Baggies.
Young defender Tyias Browning also started at right-back, and did not let anybody down, although some harsh critics may say he could have done better with the Baggies opening goal. With more experience the youngster could become a valuable member of the first team squad.
Last season Everton under-performed in the Premier League and finished 11th in the table, after the Toffees made it out of the Europa League group stages. Their European excursions obviously affected the players.
The likes of Lukaku and Barkley looked like they lacked sharpness, and Everton struggled at both ends of the field in the first half of last season. The second half of the campaign the Toffees improved and they have taken that improvement into this season.
Barkley has started this campaign in far brighter fashion, being a big influence on his team. The win at West Brom was probably his least effective game of the campaign, but the youngster is allowed the odd quiet game now and again.
The England international has obviously benefitted from his summer off, having been with the Three Lions squad at the World Cup in the summer of 2014.
The race for the top six in the Premier League will be just as competitive as ever, and the race for the top four is even more competitive. Clubs with far more financial clout than the Toffees will be looking to clinch one of those top four positions this season.
The Merseysider’s have already faced Southampton, Manchester City, Spurs and Chelsea this season, all teams who finished in the top seven last season. From those four games Martinez’s side garnered a very decent point’s tally of seven.
The Toffees point’s total of 12 points is pretty good, considering the games they have played so far. Some would argue that the team from Merseyside should have even collected more points this season.
The Toffees are now odds of 9/1 to finish in the Premier League top four this season. While they may not quite make the Champions League spots, the mood surrounding the club is once again positive, and another top-six finish this season for Martinez’s side cannot be ruled out.
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