Stats: Everton's Romelu Lukaku tops offside chart. Trying too hard?

Belgium international teammates Romelu Lukaku and Christian Benteke, of Everton and Aston Villa, have been struggling to keep themselves onside.

Having seen Romelu Lukaku net 15 times in Premier League competition last season, it came as no surprise to see Everton break the bank in 2014 to secure the powerful striker on a permanent basis.

Many questioned Chelsea’s decision to let the Belgium international go, given how impressive he had been away from Stamford Bridge at just 21 years of age.

He has, however, found the going a lot tougher this term, with top-flight defenders better prepared to face the challenges he poses and the Toffees failing to find their spark.

Lukaku does have seven top-flight efforts to his name, and has looked more like his old self since the turn of the year, but it could be argued that he has been trying a little too hard to recapture the form of his recent past.

No player has been caught offside on more occasions this season than the Everton forward, suggesting that he is playing on the line and struggling to get his timing right.

  PlayerTotal OffsideAppearancesMins Played
Premier League Romelu Lukaku 24 23 1,808
Premier League Diego Costa 20 19 1,602
Premier League Christian Benteke 19 14 1,165
Premier League Robin van Persie 18 21 1,723
Premier League Enner Valencia 17 20 1,138
Premier League Jamie Vardy 17 20 1,242

If Lukaku can start timing his runs better, it could be that the floodgates open and he surges towards the finishing post.

The same could be said for his international teammate Christian Benteke, who has found the target just twice so far.

Aston Villa desperately need him to start working opposition goalkeepers harder than he is assistant referees, with it vital that he keeps flags down and gets efforts in on goal.

Manchester United will feel the same about Robin van Persie, although he is more of a poacher in the final third, while Diego Costa bucks the trend at Chelsea as he has been a regular source of goals and will have few complaints at giving match officials plenty to do.

Register for EVERTON team updates

Register for ASTON VILLA team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch