Everton may be heading towards a rather forgettable mid-table finish this season but the team and star striker Romelu Lukaku continue to fly the flag for the Premier League in Europe.
Boosted from odds of 6/1 to 8/1 to score first for the Toffees in the Europa League clash with Dynamo Kyiv this week, we are backing the Belgian to deliver the goods for any number of reasons.
Here are five of them to start with.
1. The first-leg performance
The 21-year-old was in his element against Dynamo at Goodison Park, setting up Everton’s first goal with a fine bit of battering-ram centre forward play and then scoring the winner from the spot. Having proven a handful through, the Ukrainian side must be dreading a reunion.
2. His Europa League record
Lukaku may have racked up a solid, if unspectacular, eight goals in 29 Premier League outings this term but he’s proven a revelation on the continent. Seven goals in eight Europa League games have set him out as the tournament’s top-scorer and set a new Everton record in Europe.
3. Recent Premier League form
And before anyone gets worried about his domestic displays it’s worth noting that the Belgian looked back to his best last time out in the Premier League. Lukaku scored one, set up another and was a general nuisance to Newcastle in a 3-0 Toffees win. We expect more to follow here.
4. Spot-kick duty beckons
One of the more obvious reasons to back the ex-Chelsea player for a goal is that he is usually on spot-kick duty for Everton. Having scored spot-kicks in his previous two Europa League outings, he looks a reliable shout against a Dynamo team with a notably poor disciplinary record on the pitch.
5. Gonzalo Higuain is watching
Lukaku may be the outright leader in the Europa League scoring charts but after netting a hat-trick against Dynamo Moscow last time out, Napoli’s Gonzalo Higuain has emerged as a serious contender with the Argentine on six goals in the competition already. A few more in Kyiv would certainly help Lukaku’s case.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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