Everton’s woes away from home continued as AFC Bournemouth dug out a 3-1 win at the Vitality Stadium behind a brace from Callum Wilson.
Wilson opened the scoring after 20 minutes of sustained dominance from the Blues, netting a header from a scrappy corner. The Blues responded, however, as Dominic Calvert-Lewin rose above the Cherries defence to beat Aaron Ramsdale in the Cherries net.
Yet, the hosts kept the game scrappy in the second half. Substitute Ryan Fraser’s deep free-kick beat Jordan Pickford before Wilson wrapped up the points with a lofted finish over the onrushing ‘keeper.
The story of the game
Both sides entered the game off the break of an international break that saw their players jet around the world to represent their home nations.
Marco Silva’s travelling Toffees started the brighter of the two teams with Alex Iwobi seeing an early shot flash wide. The Blues then sustained that bright start with a handful of repetitive corners that saw them unable to break through a stubborn Cherries backline.
However, despite the positive start, the remained susceptible to attacks from the hosts. Summer signing Phillip Billing launched their first goalbound effort of the game after ten minutes, but failed to trouble Pickford.
They when then once again on the backfoot as Richalrison played a through ball in-front of Calvert-Lewin. However, before he could lift the ball past the Bournemouth shot-stopper, Ramsdale nicked it away from the onrushing forward and cleared his lines.
The ‘keeper, however, could only stand and watch as Richarlison rifled a long-range effort directly off the crossbar.
Yet, the hosts solid backline play allowed the hosts to take the lead as Everton failed to clear a corner. Wilson poked home, despite a VAR review, leaving the visitors regretting spurning their chances to go ahead.
While Richarlison then almost responded for the Blues with a header, he laid on Calvert-Lewin to draw Silva’s side level before the break.
The visitors started the second period with that same positive play from the first half. Gylfi Sigurdsson and Lucas Digne both saw goalbound efforts cleared away by the stout backline of the hosts, before the visitors were made to rue their missed chances.
Fraser, a second-half substitute, lofted a free-kick from the left-hand side that caught the Everton backline out and trickled past Pickford. Everton introduced Moise Kean and Bernard in response, but were put to the sword before they could make an impact.
Wilson raced on to a lofted through ball and waited for the onrushing Pickford to give him angle. The forward lifted a perfectly weighted shot over the ‘keeper to wrap up the points for Eddie Howe’s side.
Cherries make rotations work
Despite being on the back foot for most of the game, Howe’s men were able to withhold the Everton attacks to get forward - and it came with rotations.
Summer signing Jack Stacey made his debut, while Lewis Cook made his first appearance since returning from a knee injury that ruled him out since December. Whether or not Howe will be able to welcome his strongest line-up back to the fold next time out remains to be seen, but they’ve at least proven that they can work on the back foot.
Toffees need to fix travel woes
Holding ambitions of finishing in the top six or above won’t come to fruition if you can’t win away from home. Everton have a strong home record, with their last loss coming in February of 2018, but it’s a completely different story away from home.
Silva’s men haven’t bagged three points on their travels since beating West Ham United back in March of last season. It’s a huge problem that the Portuguese boss needs to rectify.