The Lukaku Problem and the Myth of a Number Nine

by   |   16/06/2017  23 Comments  [Jump to last]

As Evertonians, we have waited a long time for a 20 goal-a-season man.

We tried Bent, Beattie, Johnson, Yakubu, Anichebe, Vaughan, Saha, Jelavic – none of whom were up to the task (although in fairness the Yak & Saha had their moments, but invariably each were struck down by injury).

Romelu Lukaku represents (almost) everything we want from Our Striker - but perhaps the job description is changing.

Everton scored 67 goals last season, 26 of which were from Romelu. The next highest scorer was Barkley (6) followed by Mirallas & Coleman with 4 each.

I have enjoyed Lukaku as much as the next Evertonian but, if he was less selfish, the other players around him would score more goals. Put Dele Alli in our team, would he score nearly the number of goals he does for Tottenham? Or would Son, would Eriksen? Taking another team into consideration, would Pedro or even Hazard?

The selfless running from other teams' front men – Kane and Costa the best examples – create invaluable space for the other attackers to get in behind and through opponents back lines. The way Lukaku plays between the posts is fine if you have a team getting to the byline and whipping in crosses; but not if you have the two flowing inside forwards that Koeman seems to favour. Perhaps this is what Koeman saw Deulofeu providing when he was put up front while Lukaku was injured.

With the flowing inside forwards you need a striker who will make selfless runs to draw defenders, who will drop deep to pull them out of position, as well as finish HIS chances when he gets them. Arguably our best team in the Premier League era was the one with Marcus Bent up front, who would have scored more were he not lacking the finishing skills that would have made him a much more expensive striker.

To quote Moneyball, Everton need to find 26 goals; not a 26-goal striker.

When you think we are requiring 26 goals, it seems much easier to replace the man we trusted to score them. Find a front man with a mixture of power, pace and a footballing brain that will allow the two forwards and three midfielders around him to get 5-10 goals each and the problem is solved.

As always, COYB.

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