Saturday 25th August 2018
The Toffees face a difficult trip to Dorset this Saturday as they take on in-form Bournemouth at the Vitality. After an encouraging 2-1 home victory over Southampton last time out, the Blues will be hoping they can build on that momentum in gameweek three. Although, that task will be far from easy considering the Cherries impressive start to the season has seen them take maximum points from their opening two fixtures.
The Blues notched their first three points of the season last Saturday as they overcame a Saints side who struggled to cope with the home outfit’s urgency going forward. In a game they were expected to win, Everton got the job done, sealing it after an impressive first half. Theo Walcott squandered a glorious chance in the second that should have definitely increased the Toffees tally. The home side were electric for the first 45 and made life seriously difficult for the Saints who found themselves 2-0 down at the break following well worked goals from Richarlison and Walcott.
With a convincing showing in the first, the second failed to match. The Blues seemed to begin to sit on their lead and invite pressure, for which they were punished by Danny Ings after a lack of concentration in defence. The contest ultimately saw Everton victorious, despite a nervy ending.
Even though the start of Marco Silva’s tenure has been a pleasing one, there are still a few areas where the boss will definitely be looking for improvement. These areas were mostly identified in the second half against the Saints. The ease of which Danny Ings was able to break the Blues defence only highlighted why the late arrivals of Yerry Mina and Kurt Zouma were so important to Everton’s season and Silva will no doubt be looking to integrate them into the side to steady the back line as soon as possible. Going forward we were fantastic, with perhaps the only criticism being not taking more of our chances. However, the fact that we are creating them holds the Toffees in positive stead.
Heading into Saturday, Everton face no fresh injury concerns. New signing Andre Gomes remains sidelined with a muscle injury whilst it remains to be seen whether Mina has recovered from a small foot injury that kept the defender out of the Saints game. Midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin was forced off with a hamstring injury last week but it is thought the Frenchman will recover in time. Phil Jagielka remains out as he completes the second of his three game ban.
It has been rumoured that Bernard could have made a quicker than expected recovery and could be in contention to make his club debut. Talking of debuts, Kurt Zouma is also expected to have some involvement.
The Cherries come into Saturday’s clash in stellar form. Two wins in two has seen Bournemouth rise to sixth in the table early on. Last time out, they overcame a difficult trip to the London Stadium against West Ham, coming out 2-1 winners in a game many fancied them to struggle with. Whilst they could perhaps count themselves lucky to be heading into the break only behind by one, the second half was a whole different story. The Cherries came out with a great intensity which saw them take control of the game, causing their opponents all sorts of trouble in the wide areas.
Striker Callum Wilson was the stand out performer as his work rate and desire to run at the defence caused a real headache for West Ham. The front man’s display highlighted his capability and how important he is to Bournemouth if they are to build on this good start. Since their introduction to the league, the Cherries have never really been known for their defensive strength, however in these first two games Eddie Howe’s men have only conceded once, which was a penalty. From open play, the men from Dorset have so far looked solid and a team that could certainly surprise a few.
Bournemouth enter the weekend with a clean bill of health and are expected to go with the same side. Newly signed Spaniard Diego Rico is the only man to miss the game as he serves the end of his suspension from last season.
Since their promotion to the top-tier, the Vitality has proved a difficult hunting ground for the Blues. In their three visits in the league, the Toffees have taken two losses and a draw. However, Everton did progress in the FA Cup there in 2016, coming out 2-0 winners. Saturday is expected to be yet another tough test. With Bournemouth full of confidence on the back of two wins and on home turf, the game is arguably Evertons biggest test yet. With the Blues forward line firing and looking strong, I can see yet another game involving goals. Every duck needs breaking and I think this will be the day Everton put an end to their Dorset struggles.
Bournemouth: Begovic; Smith, Cook, Ake, Daniels; Brooks, Surman, Gosling, Fraser; King, Wilson.
Everton: Pickford; Coleman, Keane, Zouma, Baines; Gueye, Schneiderlin, Sigurdsson; Richarlison, Tosun, Walcott.
Score Prediction: Bournemouth 1-2 Everton.