Yesterday Everton scored two late goals to win 3-2 at West Ham in the Premier League.
The victory meant that the Toffees are the only unbeaten team in the top-flight. Everton are starting to look like a really promising team.
This was a typical game of two halves for the visitors. In the first half the visitors dominated possession, but had just one shot on goal.
That was maybe a reflection on how new Everton boss Roberto Martinez wants his team to play.
Everton kept the ball, but lacked cutting edge. However, they were a completely different team in the second half, as beast of a striker Romelu Lukaku came off the substitute’s bench to give them a physical presence up front.
The Belgium looked far more of a threat to the Irons defence than the out-of-luck Croatian Nikica Jelavic, who he replaced at half-time.
Lukaku put himself about and linked play-up well and most importantly scored the winning goal in the 85th minute. The young Belgium international showed tremendous bravery to head home and picked up a knock to the head in scoring the winner, although the Everton physio had to tell him that he had actually scored.
The fact that Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho allowed Lukaku to leave on loan this summer raised eyebrows, especially amongst Chelsea fans. The youngster impressed on loan at West Brom last season scoring 17 Premier League goals.
Chelsea fans seemed excited by the prospect of the youngster getting a chance in the first team this season at Stamford Bridge. The likes of Fernando Torres and Demba Ba had not exactly light the world on fire for the Blues in the lone striker role.
Lukaku looked set to play a big role at Chelsea this season, but Mourinho had others ideas and instead the Portuguese boss brought in veteran striker Samuel Eto’o, who is still finding his feet in the English game.
Chelsea’s loss is very much Everton’s gain. When Everton made a loan move for Lukaku on transfer deadline day it looked like the move would end in failure, when Lukaku’s former-club West Brom also came in with a loan offer.
For one reason or another Lukaku chose a move to Merseyside. The decision was greeted with glee by Toffees fans.
The last few seasons under David Moyes the Toffees have been missing a prolific striker. It looked like Croatian Nikica Jelavic was the man, as he made a tremendous start to his career. However, last season the striker struggled to rediscover the form of the first six months of his Toffees career.
Jelavic’s poor form has continued into this season, despite encouraging signs in pre-season that he would rediscover his goal scoring touch.
The Croatian’s position in the lone striker role come under-threat by the arrival of Arouna Kone this summer, but Lukaku is another player that will threaten that role.
Everton may well have had made the Champions League with a striker like Lukaku in the lone striker role. It was something of a misconception that Everton were a long-ball team under David Moyes. At times they played some really excellent football.
The likes of Kevin Mirallas, Leon Osman and Steven Pienaar are really good footballers, then there is the outstanding Leighton Baines at full-back. Everton do create chances and they have been crying out for somebody to put the chances away, Lukaku could be just that man.
Romelu Lukaku has been on the football scene for a good while. He broke into the Anderlecht team at just 16 and quickly established himself as one of the most promising forwards in world football. The youngster was linked with a number of top European clubs, but it was Chelsea who snapped up the young striker in 2011.
Lukaku never really got a proper chance in a Chelsea shirt and was sent out on-loan to West Brom, where he shone and helped West Brom to a midtable position last season.
The youngster has all the attributes to become a world-class striker and gaining more first team experience in a very good Everton side will only help his development.
A lot of people were questioning the appointment of Roberto Martinez as Everton boss. However, the Toffees players are starting to come around to Martinez’s style of possession football. It worked to a certain extent at Wigan, but the Latics were relegated.
The big difference at Everton is that they have far better players and with the sheer and pace of Romelu Lukaku the Merseysider’s have a fighting chance of again finishing in the top six and could be outsiders for the top four and the Champions League places.
The Toffees are currently 2.1/1 to finish seventh, but with Lukaku up front I would not bet against them claiming a European spot.
Could Romelu Lukaku be the missing jigsaw piece for Everton?
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