On Monday night Everton ripped David Moyes’s Sunderland apart at the Stadium of Light thanks to a phenomenal second half performance by their Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku.
It was a typical Lukaku performance, where he shows you everything he is capable of in one night to devastating effect. Prior to this game, the Belgian had failed to score in 11 games. A somewhat shocking record for a striker considered as one of the best in Europe at the moment. However it is safe to say that he is back with a bang.
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Showing his characteristic strength, he rose above his marker to head past Jordan Pickford in the Sunderland goal from an excellent Idrissa Gueye cross. He rose above again shortly after to head home Yannick Bolasie’s cross to double Everton’s lead. The hat-trick was soon complete when Kevin Mirallas capitalized on Sunderland’s poor defending to send Lukaku through on goal and the Belgian international made no mistake, side-footing the ball past Pickford to put the result beyond doubt.
It was Lukaku’s 5th goal for club and country in a week. Everton manager Ronald Koeman would be hoping that his main man is finally up and running for the season, considering his goals are going to be very crucial in achieving their targets this year.
In the summer Lukaku made it clear he wanted to play Champions League football, something Everton were not in a position to offer him. A move to one of Europe’s heavy weights seemed like a certainty but after the appointment of Koeman, the striker has had a change of heart. Why wouldn't he?
Koeman was very successful in his previous spell at Southampton with successive impressive finishes in the league. He got them playing exciting football as well as establishing a satisfactory defensive stability. Lukaku recognizes that under the guidance of the new manager, coupled with the talent they have in their squad, Everton could finally make that big step towards the next level and wants to stick around at least one more year to see how far it goes.
“It’s always a boost. Strikers live for scoring. Lukaku is always a scoring player. But we need to support the boy to give him the chances to score”
— Ronald Koeman (Everton Manager)
It was no surprise to me when the Dutch manager swapped the south coast for Merseyside. Southampton have sold their best players for the past few years whereas at Everton, there is a relative stability considering that the club are looking to fight for the champions league places and establish themselves as one of the elite clubs in England.
The sale of a club’s best players certainly hampers progress especially when they do not find the right replacements. It significantly sets back the plans of a manager like Koeman, looking to take the club to the next level.
Lukaku’s decision to stay represents a massive boost to their campaign as evidenced by that blistering performance on Monday night. That win took Everton up to 3rd in the league and with Middlesbrough coming to Merseyside on gameweek 5, the streak could be on.