MX23RW : Sunday, October 17 10:15:27| >> :600:87889:87889:
Sep 23, 2017 at 3pm UK at Goodison Park
Attendance: 38,133
Niasse (77', 82')
FT(HT: 0-0)
King (49')

Preview: Everton vs. Bournemouth

Sports Mole previews the action from Everton's Premier League meeting with Bournemouth.

Two sides that have endured a tough start to the 2017-18 season meet at Goodison Park this weekend as 18th-placed Everton take on second-bottom Bournemouth.

The Toffees have not won in the league since the opening day of the season and will start the afternoon just one point better off than their opponents, although a convincing 3-0 victory over Sunderland in the EFL Cup in midweek ended their torrid run of four straight defeats in all competitions.


Ronald Koeman shouts orders during the Premier League game between Manchester United and Everton on September 17, 2017© Offside

Expectations were high at Everton in the run-up to the new season, with Ronald Koeman having spent big over the summer, but a run of three back-to-back league defeats has sparked fears of underachievement among their supporters.

The Blues strengthened in almost every area of the pitch, but the early evidence suggests that goals will be a problem following their failure to secure a like-for-like replacement for the free-scoring Romelu Lukaku.

Everton have netted just twice in the Premier League so far, both of their goals coming from veteran forward Wayne Rooney, and they failed to score in their defeats to Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United.

Shots on target have also been an issue for Koeman's side, although youngster Dominic Calvert-Lewin could be a potential solution for the misfiring Toffees, having bagged a brace during their 3-0 win over Sunderland.

Indeed, it could be the team's impressive crop of youngsters that helps them reverse their fortunes as Tom Davies looks like one of the Premier League's most promising box-to-box midfielders, striker Ademola Lookman has shown flashes of great potential, and Croatian teenager Nikola Vlasic has hinted at good things to come.

With summer recruits Jordan Pickford, Davy Klaassen, Michael Keane, Sandro Ramirez and Gylfi Sigurdsson still gelling and Everton's forthcoming fixtures looking more manageable, the Blues will be desperate to kickstart their season with a home victory over the Cherries.

How to get goals out of the squad at his disposal is Koeman's most pressing concern.

Recent form: WDLLL
Recent form (all competitions): DLLLLW


Eddie Howe watches on during the Premier League game between Bournemouth and Swansea City on March 18, 2017© SilverHub

Like Everton, Bournemouth got off to a dismal start in the Premier League, losing all of their first four matches.

Defeats to Manchester City and Arsenal will have been inevitable in the eyes of some supporters, but Eddie Howe's side's failure to take anything from Watford or West Bromwich Albion go down as missed opportunities.

However, a pair of successive wins over Brighton & Hove Albion in the league and the EFL Cup should give the Cherries a welcome confidence boost ahead of their trip to Everton, although they have not travelled well of late.

In 2017, Bournemouth have collected only seven points in their 11 Premier League away games so far.

Goals have been an issue for Howe's men, with last season's top scorer Joshua King failing to find the net so far this term. Creativity also appears to be a problem as the Norway international has attempted just two shots on target in 449 minutes of football, which hints at a faltering supply chain.

Firing blanks in their last two Premier League away matches, Bournemouth have not gone three away games without scoring since March 2012, when they went on a five-match barren run.

Getting King firing again and linking up with veteran attacker Jermaine Defoe could be the key to Howe building on that double win over Brighton when his side travels to Goodison Park.

Recent form: LLLLW
Recent form (all competitions): LWLLWW

Team News

Wayne Rooney in action for Everton against Sevilla on August 6, 2017© Offside

There is a strong chance Koeman will hand a start to Calvert-Lewin after his goalscoring exploits in the EFL Cup, likely deploying him as an out-and-out striker.

Everton have plenty of options for the number 10 position, with Rooney, Sigurdsson and Klaassen all jostling for inclusion in this capacity.

Koeman is also likely to revert to playing just one holding midfielder, a role that will probably be assigned to Idrissa Gueye, while Davies serves as a box-to-box midfielder.

The Blues have no fresh injury concerns ahead of the match.

Bournemouth are likely to keep the faith in King and have him lead the line in the continued absence of Callum Wilson through injury, lining up alongside Defoe.

Meanwhile, winger Junior Stanislas is pushing for a recall after returning from a groin problem in the EFL Cup victory over Brighton.

Everton possible starting lineup:
Pickford; Martina, Keane, Williams, Baines; Gueye, Davies, Sigurdsson, Sandro, Rooney; Calvert-Lewin

Bournemouth possible starting lineup:
Begovic; Francis, Ake, Surman, Pugh; Arter, Daniels, Smith, Stanislas; King, Defoe

Head To Head

History is on Everton's side in this fixture as the Blues have won all four of their previous competitive home games against the Cherries - two Premier League games, one FA Cup and one League Cup match.

Meetings between Everton and Bournemouth are typically high-scoring affairs, with 19 goals netted across the four top-flight fixtures between these two, an average of almost five per game.

The last time they met at Goodison Park was a 6-3 thriller in February that the Toffees won, although Koeman was likely questioning his defence almost as much as Howe in the aftermath.

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We say: Everton 1-0 Bournemouth

Forget the high-scoring affairs of years gone by, this will be a cagey game between two sides who have been struggling to find the net so far this season.

After investing around £150m into improving a squad that ended last season 15 points better off than the Cherries, Everton, on paper have more than enough quality to edge the match with home advantage.

Bournemouth will be desperate to avoid being sucked into a relegation dogfight, but the Blues will be equally hungry to kickstart their season, now that their run of tricky fixtures is behind them, and a win at Goodison Park could be the beginning of a decent run for them.

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Ronald Koeman watches on during the Premier League game between Everton and Arsenal on December 13, 2016
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