After one heavyweight clash at Wembley last night, SunSport compares both strikers before they take to the field at Goodison Park
AFTER one heavyweight clash at Wembley last night, another one will capture the sporting world at Goodison Park today.
No, not boxer Tony Bellew fighting at his beloved Toffees’ home – but Everton star striker Romelu Lukaku coming up against Chelsea’s Diego Costa.
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Both are prolific goalscorers in the Premier League and on the international stage, talismans and target men in the truest sense.
And the match-up has an added twist with champions-elect Chelsea wanting to buy back Lukaku – having sold the Belgian to Everton in 2014 – potentially to REPLACE China-bound Costa.
Both look to be on the move this summer – Costa reportedly keen to engineer a lucrative Asian deal, while Lukaku recently questioned his side’s ambition.
With the strikers in the shop window, both will want to put in a top performance today with the eyes of the football world on Merseyside – but how do they compare in a tale of the tape?
Both players have characteristically been superb in front of goal this season – Costa ending a five-game goal drought with a brace against Southampton in midweek and now has 19 this term.
While Lukaku is already on 24 for the season in the league, making him the top flight’s leading marksman.
In fact, Lukaku is ahead of Costa in most stats this season, having had more shots, finished off bigger chances, created more chances, had more shots on target and more dribbles.
But that is not the whole story, as while both are almost the same height and in the mould of a “traditional target man”, their games do differ significantly.
Firstly, Lukaku is better in the air having scored six headers to Costa’s two – but the Brazilian-born Spain international is truly magnificent with his back to goal as a true one-touch player, unlike his rival whose control often lacks.
The goals they score often differ – you will see more Costa snapshots inside the box from crosses in using his poachers instincts, with Lukaku often running in behind from long balls and scoring one on one.
But inherently they love playing up top as the focus point of the attack, both men having run a LOT this season chasing down balls and being a nuisance to defences – although it has been said that Lukaku is perhaps the more selfish of the two.
Then we come to temperament, which is a big differing factor – Lukaku seems a chilled character, never appearing to lose his cool and focus – particularly for someone so young with already so many games under his belt.
Costa meanwhile is a firebrand in the truest sense, always seeming to be on the cusp of a card, or a strop at opposition or the referee.
How he has not been sent off more is a miracle given the amount he is in the faces of the officials protesting about something – but make no mistakes, he gives as good as he gets.
But it is worth remembering that Costa has played and performed well on the biggest stages, such as the Champions League final – and has won a Premier League.
While a criticism levelled at Lukaku is that he does go missing in the huge matches – indeed, in the last three Premier League seasons facing the current top six, he has played 33 games and scored just four goals.
And Lukaku is much better at Goodison – this season he has scored just eight away from home, including three against rock bottom Sunderland.
While Costa just loves any ground, anywhere, not changing his style, which suggests that he is perhaps less of a confidence player than his Belgian counterpart – although he is five years older.
Whatever happens tomorrow, it is an enticing proposition to see two of the world’s best strikers in action in the same match – with extra incentives for both men to perform.