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Talking Tactics

Golden Boot race: New standards put Lukaku on high

Adrian Clarke 20 May 2017
Romelu Lukaku, Everton

Running the rule over the PL's leading scorers, Adrian Clarke says Everton forward is the most improved striker

The race to become top scorer in this season’s Premier League will go right down to the wire this Sunday featuring four familiar star names.

Adrian Clarke assesses the man in second place in the Golden Boot race, Romelu Lukaku.

The tremendous progress made by Lukaku over the last 12 months marks him out as the most improved this season's leading strikers.

View: Golden Boot standings

The quality of the Everton star's runs have become sharper and more intelligent under Ronald Koeman, with the Dutchman coaching him to play on the shoulder of defenders more often.

The 24-year-old is also using his physicality better.

Coming out on top in significantly more aerial duels (135 compared with 93 last season) and powering past opponents over the ground with more confidence, Lukaku has become an even more daunting striker for defenders to handle. 

See: Clarke on Costa

These factors have helped him build on last season's total of 18 PL goals but it is the standard of his finishing that has propelled him well beyond the 20-goal barrier.

Hitting the target with more shots, and converting a higher proportion of opportunities, Lukaku is the most clinical he has been in his career.

Romelu Lukaku scores Everton's third goal
Romelu Lukaku has won 135 aerial duels this season compared to 93 last time around

Lukaku's exploits may have been even better had his close friend and team-mate Yannick Bolasie stayed fit.

See: Clarke on Sanchez 

The winger had supplied four of the striker's first seven goals before a serious knee injury ended Bolasie's campaign prematurely in early December.

Lukaku's improvements
  2016/17 2015/16
Goals 24 18
Mins per goal 132.4 176.3
Shooting accuracy 63% 55.8%
Conversion rate 30% 21%
Home/away goal breakdown 16/8 9/9

Lukaku also happens to be the most dangerous striker late on in matches. When defences begin to tire, the powerful Belgian comes into his own.

Fifteen of his 24 PL goals have come from the 60th minute onwards, he also leads the way for scoring in the final 10 minutes.

Leading scorers after 80+ minutes
PL 2016/17 Goals
Lukaku 10
Giroud 7
Sanchez 7
Costa 6
Kane 5

See: Lukaku won't give up on Golden Boot

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