It took Romelu Lukaku just 31 seconds to stamp his name on Everton’s thrilling 6-3 win against Bournemouth. Before the echo of the referee’s starting whistle had dissipated around Goodison Park, Lukaku had skipped past the Cherries defense and bent in a left-footed beauty.
Those fortunate enough to have already found their seats at Goodison erupted. It’s not difficult to see why.
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Lukaku was far from finished. The Belgian returned the favor to James McCarthy, who set him up for the opener, with an assist to double the lead for the Toffees.
Bournemouth rolled out the red carpet for Lukaku’s second of the match, which came before the game clock even turned over to the half-hour mark.
The Cherries battled back and trimmed the lead to within a goal in the second half. Lukaku wasn’t content to sit on his first-half explosion. He came back Bournemouth with a fury.
In the 83rd minute he picked up his hat trick. Fittingly, he did so with a header. Two minutes later, Lukaku secured a Ross Barkley backheel to slot home again, giving him four for the day. To really put a smile on the faces of Everton fans, consider that Lukaku has scored the same amount of EPL goals in 2017 by himself as Liverpool have as an entire team, six.
And just like that, Lukaku catapulted to the top of the Golden Boot race with 16 goals, surpassing Diego Costa and Alexis Sanchez. He also leapfrogged the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic on his way to the top.
It’s easy to forget the Lukaku is still just 23 years old. His second goal made him Everton’s second all-time leading scorer in the EPL, and he’s only been there three years. His scoring rate and sheer dominance have him tied to a move away from Everton, but surely Toffees fans would love to keep the big Belgian around.
When he puts together performances like he did against Bournemouth, it’s obvious why Everton want him. It’s also obvious to see why he’s a hot commodity.