Stats: Lukaku v Eto'o - did Mourinho make a mistake?

Romelu Lukaku

Chelsea take on Everton this weekend, and one of Jose Mourinho's most controversial decisions will come under scrutiny.

Mourinho chose to make two changes to his strikeforce last summer, as he brought in the experienced Samuel Eto'o from Anzhi Makhachkala having worked with the Cameroon star during their time together at Inter Milan, and his arrival led to the departure of Romelu Lukaku, who was loaned out to Everton for the season.

The move was questioned at the time, and as Lukaku has hit nine Premier League goals this season compared to Eto'o's six, and whilst Lukaku is ineligible to play this weekend, how do the two compare over a number of other stats?

Goalscoring and shot accuracy

NameTeamPosTotal Scoring Att / appsOntarget Scoring Att / appsBig Chance MissedAppsMins
Samuel Eto'o Chelsea FW 2.81 1.25 5 16 1,032
Romelu Lukaku Everton FW 2.76 1.24 4 21 1,587

Lukaku has played over 550 minutes more than Eto'o in the league this season, so it's only fair to use most of the stats per-appearance. Eto'o has had slightly more attempts on goal per-game, as well as marginally more shots on target per-game. But Eto'o has missed five big chances in just 16 games (one every 3.2 games) compared to Lukaku's four in 21 (one every 5.25 games). For someone so young, Lukaku doesn't waste many great chances, and it's this that could see him as the leading striker at Stamford Bridge next season.

Dribbling and fouls won

NameTeamPosTotal ContestWon ContestWas Fouled / appsPenalty WonAppsMins
Romelu Lukaku Everton FW 51 22 0.33 0 21 1,587
Samuel Eto'o Chelsea FW 31 11 0.69 1 16 1,032

During his time with Barcelona, Eto'o was renowned for his electric pace. Now almost 33, Eto'o's speed has naturally decreased, and it shows with just 31 dribbling contests all season – compared to 51 from Lukaku, who whilst still athletic, is more of a battering ram. Lukaku has also won 22/51 of his dribbles this season (43%), compared to 11/31 for Eto'o (35%), which suggests Eto'o's previous calling card – his direct, athletic style of play – is starting to wane as he gets older. He has though been fouled more and has won one penalty than Lukaku this season.

Heading and hold-up-play

NameTeamPosAtt Hd GoalAerial WonAccurate Flick On / appsAccurate LayoffsAppsMins
Romelu Lukaku Everton FW 2 57 0.86 85 21 1,587
Samuel Eto'o Chelsea FW 0 6 0.13 13 16 1,032

Lukaku's size makes him a perfect target man, and it shows in the stats. The Belgian has scored two headed goals this season compared to Eto'o's tally of zero, whilst Lukaku has also won 57 aerial battles this season, whereas Eto'o has won just six. The young Belgian's dominance in this category with far more accurate flick ons and layoffs, and having been repeatedly compared to former Chelsea striker Didier Drogba, who flourished under Jose Mourinho, the stats would suggest that, given the chance next season, he could become a key player just like the Ivorian did.

The stats would suggest that Mourinho made a mistake in sending Lukaku out on loan again, but maybe his development at Goodison Park will mean the former Anderlecht man will return a more rounded player. With the game against Everton fast approaching, the Blues will be happy that they don't have to face Lukaku, as he's undoubtedly been a large part of the Toffees' success this season.

image: © wshjackson

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