It was a day to forgot for Everton on Saturday as the Toffees fell to a 1-0 defeat against relegation candidates Swansea. It was Fernando Llorente that got the only goal of the game to snatch a vital three points for the Swans.
Paul Clement’s side didn’t play like they were fighting for their lives but they showed more desire and will to win than Everton. A number of Ronald Koeman’s side simply were not at the races at the Liberty Stadium.
With the peace of mind that they have secured a seventh placed finish next season, European football a certainty, the Toffees played at a testimonial place, seemingly happy to finish top of the mini-league excluding the big six.
One of the players that failed to live up to expectation was striker Romelu Lukaku. The Belgian is a major contender for the Golden Boot award, but on occasions this season, he has played like a man who hasn’t scored in years.
Lukaku played poorly against Chelsea last weekend and carried this form into the away tie against Swansea.
Everton’s main man, who has been linked with a move away recently, only managed three efforts at goal in 90 minutes, with two finding Lukasz Fabianski’s gloves and one missing the target.
The Belgian looked sluggish in front of goal and he never really fashioned a decent chance for himself.
He never made any opportunities for his teammates either. Attempting five crosses, he failed to find an Everton shirt on every occasion.
In fairness, he did lay on a good chance by getting to the byline in the box and firing a dangerous ball across the six-yard box, but none of his teammates took the gamble and Alfie Mawson dealt with it impressively.
Having not created a chance in 90 minutes, the least Everton fans could expect was some decent hold-up play.
However, the Belgian often hid behind the central defender, not providing a focal point up front for his side to play off. Martin Keown described him as a ‘pussy-cat’ while suggesting he needs to find the ‘lion’ inside of himself.
It was an afternoon to forgot for Lukaku – who can only take a positive from winning 67% of his aerial duels – and Everton, who have been poor away from home all season.
If the Toffees are to contest for a top four spot next year, they need to find a way of improving their form in away games, and one way they can do this is by helping Lukaku score more outside Goodison Park.
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