But he doesn’t run enough……….

There’s a body of opinion among  some Everton supporters that Lukaku doesn’t run enough, remains uninterested in games for long periods of times, can’t control the ball etc etc etc.

For the avoidance of doubt I’m not one of those supporters, and I want to demonstrate why….


Often pictures, graphics, numbers or tables can demonstrate a point much more so than words, but first let me explain the logic.

Lukaku is likely to finish the highest goal scorer in the Premier League this season, so I thought it useful to compare him to the other highest scorers since the Millenium.

So I’ve gathered some statistics together including age, team, number of goals scored, number of points won by the highest scorer’s team and critically Premier League position of that team.

Season Player Age Team Goals scored Team position Points
2000/01 Floyd Hasselbaink 29 CFC 23 6th 61
2001/02 Henry 25 AFC 24 1st 87
2002/03 van Nistelrooy 27 MUFC 25 1st 83
2003/04 Henry 27 AFC 30 1st 90
2004/05 Henry 28 AFC 25 2nd 83
2005/06 Henry 29 AFC 27 4th 67
2006/07 Drogba 29 CFC 20 2nd 83
2007/08 Ronaldo 23 MUFC 31 1st 87
2008/09 Anelka 30 CFC 19 3rd 83
2009/10 Drogba 32 CFC 29 1st 86
2010/11 Berbatov 30 MUFC 21 1st 80
2010/11 Tevez 27 MCFC 21 3rd 71
2011/12 van Persie 28 AFC 30 3rd 70
2012/13 van Persie 29 MUFC 26 1st 89
2013/14 Suarez 27 LFC 31 2nd 84
2014/15 Aguero 26 MCFC 26 2nd 79
2015/16 Kane 23 THFC 25 3rd 70

The striking point for me is that since 2000/1 the highest Premier League scorer has played for the Champions 7 times and 2nd/3rd teams a further 8 times. None of the Premier League’s top scorers have finished outside the top 4 other than Floyd Hasselbaink way back in 2000/1.

He’s also younger than all the previous top goal scorers other than Harry Kane last year.

His goals are almost exclusively from open play, he’s scored one direct free kick versus Crystal Palace earlier in the season at Goodison.

My personal opinion is that a striker’s first responsibility is to score goals. However I also think Lukaku’s overall game has improved immensely this season, and will improve further over time.

The main point though is he does his primary job, and in my opinion there’s not a better goal scorer in the Premiership at present.

So the scale of Lukaku’s achievement should he finish top scorer is immense. He’s playing for the team that will almost certainly finish 7th, will have gained a point number which for the top scorer has only been lower once since 2000.

The issue for me with Lukaku at Everton is not what he does for the team, it’s what else the team both in terms of tactics and personnel should be doing for him.

Lukaku is doing what great goalscorers do, he scores goals for fun, currently for the poorest team in over 15 years to host the league’s top goalscorer.

The message to the board, and to the doubting fans is we need to build around him next season, and in doing so he’ll score more again.

Categories: Players

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2 replies »

  1. Those statistics do indeed make for interesting reading and comparisons between Lukaku and those who have gone before him.

    His record in hitting the onion bag in both his time with West Brom and his four seasons at Everton is enviable, and arguably could and would have been greater still had the football of the 14-15 and 15-16 seasons been anywhere close to that of 13-14 or this current campaign.

    Speaking personally, the criticism of Lukaku, if any is or can be justified, is not quite so much that he doesn’t run enough, it just seems to me that he at times appears disinterested and that despite his record, he could be labelled a bit greedy.

    When he cuts in off the right flank, you just know that nine times out of ten he will take a shot, he is either that single-minded or greedy.

    I don’t disagree that a goalscorer of his ability is someone to build around and upon, but Lukaku also needs to improve his awareness of team mates and other options.

    He has shown when he gets to the beeline that he has the awareness there to look for and find a team mate, if he could add that level of vision to his play twenty to thirty yards out, then he genuinely could become unplayable.

    Defenders know right now that Lukaku has pace and strength in abundance, if he could improve his range of passing and awareness of other options to play one-two’s with and for, he will become an even bigger nightmare to defend against.

    If you look again at the names on the list quoted, with the exception of Le Sulk Nicolas Anelka, Berbatov and maybe Hasselbaink, all of the others were harder working than Lukaku and better, more rounded footballers.

    Talent and making the most of ones God-given gifts is one thing, but and without falling into the trap of stating a need for a better work ethic, I genuinely feel that as good as Lukaku is, he can still improve and I would love to see how he would react and improve if another quality striker to play alongside and with him were to be signed this summer.

    Lukaku is an enormous talent and I think Everton should ‘bust a gut’ to keep him, but also give him a co-striker and therefore competition for the top scorer accolades.

  2. Build a team around him? He is the most indulged striker in the league as it is! and he wants out.

    For 4 years even before he signed a permanent deal with us he wanted to play for a different “bigger” club.

    I get goals are important…. my first season I watched sharp and gray win us the league with the likes of sheedy and Steven getting a healthy number of goals… mountfield too. We almost won the treble….

    The next season we had a goal machine in lineker who scored more goals than anyone would have dreamed and we won nothing.

    Lukaku is a top finisher and that is it. Every other element of his game is pretty average to poor. The amount of times an attack breaks down because of him is a joke… he moans, demands the ball in improbable positions and throws his arms all over the place like a child. He actually thinks the team is there to serve him…yet when the team need him to put in some hard yards against the better teams – where is he?

    His goal tally certainly didn’t do much to stop Leighton Baines uncharacteristically losing his rag with him…. or Ashley Williams nearly throttling him.

    He’s a very big luxury that we can do without… get the money in and buy players who will blend as a team.

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