Romelu Lukaku's Quiet Second Half vs. Manchester City Shows Everton Need Options

Greg JohnsonSpecial to Bleacher ReportOctober 5, 2013

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 05:  Romelu Lukaku of Everton celebrates with teammate Steven Naismith (L) after scoring the opening goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Everton at Etihad Stadium on October 5, 2013 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
Michael Steele/Getty Images

Having scored Everton's only goal in an impressive first half performance against Manchester City, it may sound churlish to suggest that Roberto Martinez needed more from Romelu Lukaku as side sunk to a 3-1 defeat at the Etihad.

Lukaku was a fan favourite for the Baggies last season.
Lukaku was a fan favourite for the Baggies last season.Paul Gilham/Getty Images

So far, the Chelsea loanee has picked up where he left off last season as the match-winner of Steve Clarke's unheralded West Bromwich Albion. After scoring his 17th minute goal against City, Lukaku can now boast a record of 21 goals in 38 games over his two temporary Premier League stays.

His form has led some to question the logic behind Jose Mourinho's decision to let the striker leave Stamford Bridge once more, especially considering the transfer saga of the club's search for a new forward undertaken in the summer.

However, as the graphic from Squawka below highlights, Lukaku was unsuccessful against Joe Hart, with the Belgian's potency severely diminished after the break. 

Everton striker Romelu Lukaku hasn't touched the ball once in Man City's box in the second half:

— Squawka Football (@Squawka) October 5, 2013

Though it may fly in the face of footballing intuition, the injury of Vincent Kompany may have played its part, with Matija Nastasic coming on to replace City's captain in Manuel Pellegrini's back line. The young Serbian competed well with Lukaku and was generally more cautious in how he dealt with his strength compared to Kompany, whose own combative, physical presence often leads him to challenge such threats more directly.

Nastasic helped to shackle Lukaku in the second half.
Nastasic helped to shackle Lukaku in the second half.Michael Steele/Getty Images

Apart from an early shove, which should have perhaps led to a spot-kick given the penalty that was granted to City later in the game, Nastasic took the sting out of Lukaku by helping to push him up the pitch and away from goal.

Regardless of the reasons, it's clear that Everton shouldn't rely on their loan signing as their only edge against opponents, especially of the calibre of the league's top four or six teams.

Martinez's team counter-attacked well in the first half, but in the second could have perhaps benefitted from taking a more considered and patient approach, which would have jarred with Lukaku's juggernaut qualities.

Kone has shown good awareness and intelligence during his time at Levente and Wigan.
Kone has shown good awareness and intelligence during his time at Levente and Wigan.Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Arouna Kone is a very canny goalscorer, and may have found more joy grifting opportunities out of Lescott and Nastasic had Everton changed tact. Similarly, Nikica Jelavic, with his movement and well-honed understanding with Steve Naismith, could have posed a new challenge to Pellegrini's men.

Martinez must look to mix up his side's approach with some alternative options to prevent his team from being found out and nullified as they were in the second half of the game against City.

Lukaku is without doubt one of the most exciting and effective young strikers in the Premier League, if not the world, but he isn't the complete, unplayable forward he looks capable of becoming just yet. Until he has reached that level his managers must look for other possibilities when Plan A fails to deliver.