How to Solve a Problem Like Lukaku

It would be fair to say that we do not always see the best of Romelu Lukaku. On his day he can be completely and utterly unplayable, dominating defenders with his sheer strength and majestically leaving them in his wake. Unfortunately for us his bad days are unequivocally bad, to such an extent that when I watch him slumped and lumbering about the pitch I often wonder whether we would be better off playing with 10 men.


That said, there can be no doubting the lad’s quality. The game on Monday was a prime example of how Lukaku can be a match winner for us. 2-0 behind and seemingly down and out, Rom bagged his 41st and 42nd goals for Everton with his only 2 real chances of the match and set up a third for the invigorated Arouna Kone. Roberto Martinez hailed Lukaku as the match winner after the game, stating…

“Romelu can achieve anything he wants. He’s got that unique strength of being the man that the team needs. He has got an elite brain. In the second half, he has got two goals, an assist and he made a real difference.”

It is clear that in Romelu Lukaku we have a real gem of a player with all of the attributes required to go on and become one of the world’s best. His goal scoring record at such a young age is testament to that. However, I question why Lukaku fails to produce his best form on so many occasions. I recall Paul Merson (a renown Chelsea fan) commenting on Lukaku’s transfer to Everton at the time. In his opinion, Lukaku was never destined to make it at Chelsea due to the way in which teams set up against them. More often than not, whether home or away, teams will be organised and compact with two banks of four and make it difficult for Chelsea to break them down, looking to play on the counter attack whenever possible. For Merson, Lukaku wasn’t good enough with his back to goal to have an effect in such games where there is little space for him to stretch his legs.

To a certain extent I agree. The majority of Rom’s best games for Everton have either come away from home where we ourselves have played on the counter, or at home against teams who have come to Goodison and attacked us, leaving gaps in behing for Lukaku to exploit. So what can we do to solve this conundrum of a player who is world class one week and barely good enough for the Evo-Stik League the next? For me the answer is simple. Step forward Gerard Deulofeu.

For me, Deulofeu should play every game. He has to play every game. He is the only player we have who can unlock a defence with one swing of the right leg. He has proven time and time again already this season that he consistently poses a threat to the opposition defence, whether it be through his tricky dribbling or his lethal crossing, to the point where teams close him down in twos and threes. Taking the game last night as an example, Deulofeu finished the game with 2 assists, but really should have had 3 had Ross Barkley not fluffed his lines, and I can remember at least one other occasion when he flashed the ball across the six yard box only for no Everton player to get on the end of it.

It is true that Deulofeu still has some growing up to do. Occasionally he can let his childish petulance get the better of him, and he can sometimes be accused of not working hard enough for the team from a defensive point of view. Given the fact that we play with 2 out and out defensive midfielders in every game, I think we can forgive Deulofeu the odd possession where he perhaps doesn’t track back for the amount he gives us at the other end. I don’t think we should be trying to rein him in, we should be looking to unleash him, starting with the derby on Sunday and every game thereafter. Make no mistake, this is not the Liverpool team that took us apart at Anfield two seasons ago and I have no doubt that the sight of Deulofeu on the team sheet will have them worried.

Romelu Lukaku will always score goals – he finished last season with 20 when probably a reasonable number of fans would have said he didn’t really have a great season compared to the previous campaign. The goals he scored last night were the more typical strikers goals that you would associate with an out and out number 9 – someone of Gary Lineker’s ilk for example. If he can strike up an understanding with the Spanish wonderkid whereby the two of them are on the same wavelength (the beginnings of which we saw last night) then in my opinion more of these type of goals will come, and it will allow Rom to hit the back of the net in games when he has previously struggled to do so. He will no longer have to create goals for himself which he so often has to do, and he could easily finish this season with 30 goals plus and fire us to the upper echelons of the Premier League once again.


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