Everton extended their unbeaten Premier League run to eight games following a 0-0 draw at Middlesbrough on Saturday.
The Toffees thumped Bournemouth 6-3 last weekend to keep their slim chances of catching the top six alive, but will be disappointed to have dropped points at the Riverside Stadium against Aitor Karanka’s struggling Boro.
It meant that Ronald Koeman’s men fell seven points behind Manchester United, and nine behind the top four, although they maintained their four-point cushion over West Brom in eighth after the Baggies drew 2-2 at West Ham on Saturday.
Nonetheless, Everton have been in fine form in the last few months, and haven’t tasted defeat in the league since their late derby day loss to Liverpool on December 19.
Since then, they have won five and drawn three of their eight Premier League matches, with their improved defensive resilience and attacking threat the keys to their upturn in form.
The Toffees have had many excellent performers this season in the final third, but who is their most creative player after 25 Premier League games?
Well, it won’t be too much of a surprise to many that it’s in-form striker Romelu Lukaku.
The Belgian has scored 16 goals in 24 appearances this season, which is 12 more than their next highest scorers Ross Barkley and Seamus Coleman.
In fact, when you add on the four assists Lukaku has laid on this term, he has been directly involved in exactly half of Everton’s 40 league goals, and his tally of four assists is only one fewer than Barkley, who tops the list with five.
England international Barkley may well have created more chances (53 to 33) this term, but Lukaku’s ratio of one goal or assist every 105 minutes is significantly better than the Englishman’s, who manages one every 204 minutes.
23-year-old Lukaku completes the most dribbles on average of any Toffee currently fit and available for selection (2), while he and Barkley are the forwards fouled the most.
Clearly, the Belgian international is absolutely vital to Everton, with his goals and assists crucial to what Koeman’s men may go on to achieve this season.