Some Fantasy Premier League managers call Romelu Lukaku “a troll” because they feel he lures them into their teams by scoring a couple of goals, then does nothing for several weeks. The week or week after they ship him out, Lukaku will score another goal, leaving the managers frustrated that they had him and sold him.
This season has been a textbook example so far. In Gameweek 2, Lukaku opened his goal scoring account for the season with a brace against Southampton. His success resulted in more than 300,000 net transfers in (NTI) over the next two weeks and an increase in his price from 8.0m to 8.2m.
Lukaku’s NTI remained positive for the following two weeks too, but after a fourth consecutive blank the tide turned and his NTI exceeded -50,000 in Gameweek 7. He repaid those who kept the faith with his second double of the season against West Bromwich Albion on Monday night, but it must have left those who had transferred him out frustrated.
The underlying stats for the Everton forward are solid. His goals from shots on target ratio is a touch high, but he is in the top 10 for all the shooting metrics indicated in the chart so continued returns look likey. He fires off two or three shots in most matches and takes most of them from inside the box.
We should also remember that Lukaku’s opening run of fixtures (WAT, sou, MCI, tot, CHE, swa, wba) has not been easy. Everton have the joint fifth best defence in terms of goals conceded and they have faced three of the four teams better than them in that regard. The Toffees face Liverpool and Manchester United at home and Arsenal away in the next three, then the fixture list opens up nicely through to the end of 2015 (SUN, whu, AVL, bou, CPL, nor, LEI, new, STO).
On the surface Lukaku looks a good option through that period, but will he frustrate his owners again?
The fixture list (right) shows the Belgian’s goal scoring games last season in blue and the evidence does offer some hope.
After a strong start, Lukaku had something of a slump through the winter months following a busy autumn of Europa League action, but he rediscovered his goal scoring touch toward the end of the year. The former Chelsea striker played regularly last season – he only missed Southampton at home and Swansea away last year, though he also played less than 45 minutes of football against Swansea at home and Newcastle away.
The Belgian failed to score more than one goal in a Premier League game last season, but has managed to do so twice this season already.
In the final Premier League table from last season there was a six-point gap between Stoke City in ninth and tenth-placed Crystal Palace, who finished one point and one spot above Everton. All of the teams who Lukaku scored against last year finished below that gap in the table.
With no Europa League action and early indications that he could provide more generous returns this year, Lukaku could be worth another look when the fixtures turn in Gameweek 11 to include more teams of the type he had success against last year.