Reliance on Lukaku for big goals spells trouble for Everton
They may be 66/1 shots to drop down to the Championship, but the reliance on Romelu Lukaku for important goals could yet be the difference between Everton staying in the top flight or dropping down to the second tier at the end of the season.
The Toffees required a late own goal, perpetrated by their Belgian striker to snatch a draw against Premier League bottom club Leicester City.
That point means Roberto Martinez’s men have now picked up just seven from the last 30 available to them, hardly the form you would of expected from a side enjoying the latter stages of a European competition.
They now sit just six points off the relegation zone, and face being sucked into the heart of the scramble for survival.
And while the contributions from the likes of Kevin Mirallas and Steven Naismith are noted, it is the reliance on their £28m man to get the important goals that is telling this season.
The Blues’ top scorer has so often seen his goals lead to very favourable results for the Merseyside club, with an average haul of 2.28 points per game in matches that he has found the net in.
Compare that to the 1.58 points they, on average, rack up when Lukaku fires a blank, and a worrying trend emerges.
The club seem to lack a worthy competitor in the out-and-out striker position for the former Chelsea man.
Continue at his current scoring rate and he can be expected to add another three goals to his seven he has picked up already this season.
Let’s say, for arguments sake they occur in separate fixtures, then at the average points return for the Toffees when he has scored, a figure of 39 points can be expected for the blue half of Merseyside.
While that total would only have seen you relegated in four seasons since the Premier League reverted to 20 teams in 1995, the point remains.
The aforementioned Mirallas and Naismith may have netted six and five goals respectively, but barely any of those have been game changers.
For example, in the five games the former has struck in, his side have picked up just six points (average of 0.83 per game), while the total is even lower for the Scot with just four points coming from six goals (0.66 per game).
A coincidence? Maybe, but it is clear that the Goodison Park outfit need an upturn in fortunes if they are to avoid slipping into a real relegation battle.
Lose Lukaku to injury for a period of time, and the 66/1 on them tasting Premier League relegation for the first time could look huge come May.
All odds and markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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