Everton continued their push for European football with an impressive win against the team who sit one place behind them in the Premier League, West Brom. It was Romelu Lukaku, the man who has been in spectacular form as of late, who led the Toffees to victory.
Coming into the game, the Belgian striker had six goals in his last five games, including four against Bournemouth in a match that finished 6-3. The player extended this good run with a goal and an assist against West Brom and could have easily scored more if his finishing was better.
Many of the plaudits Lukaku gained early in his career were due to his fantastic goal-scoring form at West Brom during a loan spell in the 2012/13 season. Playing against his former club, the Belgian was a threat all game and proved too much for the Baggies to handle.
Lukaku was unlucky not to grab a goal in the 16th minute. Clean through after being released by Gareth Barry, the 23-year-old dragged his shot centimetres wide of the post, sending an early warning to Tony Pulis and his men.
His assist for Morgan Schneiderlin’s goal was a particularly good bit of play. Initially coming short, he then span off his defender and stretched West Brom’s defence.
Receiving the ball with very little support, the Belgian used his strength, control, and footwork to get away from two defenders before picking out Schneiderlin, who polished off a fantastic breakaway goal that effectively killed the game.
Doubts about Lukaku’s hold-up and link-up play have been aired in the past, but watching the game against the Baggies, it is clear the player has made vast improvements in this area of his game. Whether it be a simple one-two, clever movement, or a flick, Lukaku was consistently able to find his teammates in dangerous areas.
He was finally rewarded for his hard work late in the game with a typical striker’s goal. The Belgian made the most of a hopeful cross, pinning his man before getting some space and heading the ball away from the hapless Forster. A goal that cements Lukaku’s position as Everton’s all-time leading top scorer in the Premier League.
Ronald Koeman will be delighted with his star man’s performance in an important game which now sees Everton go seven points clear of the team below them. Providing the team suffer no major slip-ups, European football looks a near-certainty for the Toffees next season, which would be a great achievement for Koeman in his first season in charge.
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