Everton secured an FA Cup semi final trip to Wembley on Saturday evening after Romelu Lukaku found the net twice against his old club to fire his side to victory. In what was a pulsating fixture, with both teams desperate to salvage disappointing campaigns, it was left to Lukaku to light up the second half with a sublime individual goal. The Belgian powerhouse struck late on, having picked up the ball out wide, Lukaku displayed all his strength and skill as he made his way towards goal, leaving defenders in his wake. After turning Gary Cahill inside out, Lukaku produced a clinical finish into the bottom corner, for what is certainly one of the goals of this year’s competition so far.
Lukaku soon secured the victory for the home side, producing a calm finish through the legs of Chelsea Goalkeeper Thibaut Courtouis. There was still time for some late controversy, as both Diego Costa and Gareth Barry received their marching orders in the final minutes. Costa reacted angrily to a late challenge from the veteran midfielder, and appeared to bite Barry, leading to a second yellow for the Spaniard, and his first dismissal in a Chelsea shirt. Despite Barry only receiving a yellow card for the altercation, just minutes later a rash challenge on Cesc Fabregas meant he would join Costa on the sidelines.
As for Lukaku, the striker provided yet another reminder to his former employer that they were perhaps too hasty in dismissing his talents, as the marksmen continues his fine form this campaign. Having signed for Chelsea at the tender age of eighteen, Lukaku only made ten appearances for the London club, with the form of Didier Drogba and Fernando Torres contributing to his downfall at Stamford Bridge. Loan spells at West Brom and Everton eventually led to his permanent transfer to Goodison Park, where Lukaku has quickly become a firm favourite amongst the Everton faithful. Supporters will be hopeful their talismans form continues and that he can provide the firepower to lead Everton to a first trophy since 1995.
With holders Arsenal unexpectedly crashing out at the hands of Watford on Sunday, Everton will believe they are in with an excellent chance of claiming glory and perhaps a betting man would say they’re odds on favourites. Indeed Betway currently offer odds of 3/1 on for the Liverpool based club to go all the way this year. However, with the Premier League rivals West Ham United and Manchester United still in contention after their draw at Old Trafford, as well as two London clubs in Watford and Crystal Palace both through to the semi finals, this years competition looks set to throw up more twists and turns leading up to the final.
If Lukaku continues this form until the end of the season, Everton may well come under pressure from some of Europe’s biggest names to part with their prized asset. Everton’s number 10 has made no secret of his desire to play at the top end of the game.