Everton fans across the country have their fingers crossed that Romelu Lukaku is set to return from injury this weekend in their Premier League game against Southampton.
The Toffees’ top goal scorer has been out since the middle of March and the team have not been as effective without him. Lukaku has scored 18 goals in all competitions so far this season and the 21-year-old has been a key figure in Everton’s starting line-up.
Boss, Roberto Martinez is hopeful the striker will be fit to face Southampton. “We’re quite positive because of the way Rom usually reacts to these types of treatments and how fit he is as an individual,” he said.
This season Everton have been plagued with injuries and it seems to have cost them heavily. When 90% of their team has been fit they have been a force to be reckoned with but a constant string of injuries has caused many problems and they have slipped further and further down the league. Losing games they shouldn’t have has left them languishing in 13th when at the beginning of the season they were hoping to push for European contention after making the Europa League last year.
This season, the Blues have suffered a curious spate of the same injury- it seems they have a hamstring curse. Lukaku became the 13th first team player to be hit by the injury and since Martinez arrived 18th months ago those 13 players have had an incredible 22 hamstring injuries between them. The worst player affected was midfielder James McCarthy who up to getting injured had been extremely influential for Everton.
Lukaku has been sidelined for three weeks with the injury and had to pull out of playing for Belgium during the International break. Everton are not safe from relegation yet and it is hoped his return will bring a change of fortune and push them further up the table. The team desperately need to find form to not drag themselves closer to the relegation battle. This season will probably be one many Everton fans will want to forget. Whilst they have a team that can compete against the best teams in the League things just haven’t gone quite right for them.
During the summer a lot needs to be addressed as to just how that many players can suffer the same injury in the space of a season- something somewhere is not right and it needs to be addressed as quickly as possible.
Everton currently sit nine points above the relegation zone but with games against Southampton, Manchester United and Tottenham who are all chasing 4th place it is not going to be an easy end to the season. If Lukaku comes back, that should only leave four players still out injured but hopefully it will be enough for the team to be strong and succeed. The Belgian International has been one of the star players this season so let’s hope his form hasn’t left him when he makes a return.