Everton vs AFC Bournemouth Preview: Toffees searching for early season revenge against Cherries

Everton vs AFC Bournemouth Preview: Toffees searching for early season revenge against Cherries

A preview of Everton’s game with AFC Bournemouth at Goodison Park.

Connor Bennett

Ronald Koeman’s Everton side will look to get back to winning ways against AFC Bournemouth, following a 1-1 draw during the week away to Stoke City.

Koeman’s side are on another six-game unbeaten run in the Premier League this season. The last time that happened, the streak was snapped by the Cherries in September following a 1-0 loss. 

Eddie Howe’s team make the trip north in relatively disappointing form, with only a solitary win in their last six outings. The former Burnley boss is a huge Blues fan and will be chomping at the bit to get one over the side he supports.

The Cherries have never completed the league double over the Toffees but will have the chance to break that on Saturday. 

In Focus: Everton’s midfield is becoming a strength

For years, the Toffees midfield has been good but seemingly middle of the pack in the Premier League. There was always one or two key men, a player who could pick a pass and another who did the dirty work. But now, it’s becoming a huge strength for Everton.

Ronald Koeman has assembled a fine selection of midfield talent, who can all operate in different roles for different games. 

Many fans expected the Blues midfield to suffer following Idrissa Gana Gueye’s midseason trip to Gabon for the African Cup of Nations but that hasn’t been the case.

Gueye has been one of, if not the best, signings from the summer transfer window and has been key for Everton so far this season. 

Morgan Schneiderlin joined in early January and following two cameo’s against Manchester City and Crystal Palace with a full 90 minutes against Stoke City, it’s clear to see why Koeman shelled out a big transfer fee for him

Tom Davies has been a huge revelation this season. The floppy-haired nephew of former Everton player Alan Whittle is proving himself at the very top of his game, with more seemingly to come. He has a keen eye for a pass and loves to put in a tackle. 

Simply put, he is Everton’s future in midfield. 

While on the fringes, Mo Besic and James McCarthy can both perform key jobs for Koeman’s team in midfield. Besic has suffered a number of injuries that have to this point, stunted his growth but when given the chance, he performs. McCarthy, a Republic of Ireland international presses well but still has plenty to learn from Koeman.

The former Wigan Athletic man has been linked with a move away from Goodison Park for a number of transfer windows but Koeman has a place for him. 

Similarly, Gareth Barry has gone from an automatic starter to a bench player but can still operate in key roles for the Blues. His experience and tactical nouse late in games will be needed as Koeman’s side look to make a run at the Europa League places late in the season.

A look at AFC Bournemouth

Bournemouth currently sit 14th in the Premier League table, 11 points behind Everton. They have carved out a nice gap between them and the bottom three but will looking to push on once again during their second top-flight campaign. 

Howe has a team that can play some good stuff on the ball when they need too but one of their key strengths is their pace on the break. The Cherries are extremely quick on the counter attack with players like Joshua King and the emerging Ryan Fraser. 

The Cherries don’t have a great record at Goodison Park. In fact, they’ve never won at the old stadium.

Last time out, the suffered a 2-1 loss following goals from Leighton Baines and Tom Cleverley in what was one of Roberto Martinez’s last games in charge on Merseyside

Probable teams and injury report

Ronald Koeman revealed that Mo Besic has two weeks before he will return to training with the Everton first team.

The Bosnian international suffered a knee ligament injury prior to the start of the season and had been expected to miss out until at least March. 

Dominic Calvert-Lewin is also still sidelined for the Blues with an ankle injury but influential midfielder Idrissa Gana Gueye is back from African Cup of Nations duty. The 27-year-old is expected to be on the bench as he re-acclimatises following his return from Gabon.

The Cherries will be without talented fullback Charlie Daniels through a hamstring injury.

Callum Wilson will also miss out after he ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during training. Wilson suffered a similar injury at the start of last season and will miss the rest of this campaign. 

Everton: Stekelenburg, Baines (C), Funes Mori, Holgate, Williams, Coleman, Davies, Schneiderlin, Barkley, Lookman & Lukaku. 

AFC Bournemouth: Boruc, B Smith, S Cook, Francis (C), A Smith, Surman, Wilshere, Stanislas, Fraser, King & Afobe. 

Match Day stats:

1. Everton have lost only one game in their last 14 home games in the Premier League.

2. The Blues have also scored in 11 of their last 12 games in all competitions.

3. In their last six league away games, Bournemouth have either conceded three goals or none. They have only kept two clean sheets in that period.