Could Tom Cleverley be an unexpected inclusion if Roberto Martinez decides to make a change?
Everton's quest to continue their unbeaten run and close the gap between themselves and the top four continues this weekend with the club's first ever trip to Dean Court for a League fixture.
The Toffees' last and only meeting with Bournemouth on the south coast was a little over 30 years ago when Howard Kendall's side completed a 5-2 aggregate win over the Cherries thanks to goals by Gary Lineker and Kevin Richardson in a 2-0 victory in the League Cup. A repeat of that result would hand Roberto Martinez his first victory on the road for almost two months.
Since beating West Bromwich Albion in thrilling fashion in late September, Everton have lost to Arsenal and, somewhat frustratingly, failed to beat an uninspiring West Ham away from home but with two emphatic home wins either side of that 1-1 draw at Upton Park, they will travel as favourites this weekend.
With no new injury concerns, Martinez suggested in his pre-match press conference that he will be choosing from the same squad as last weekend. Leighton Baines and Muhamed Besic both played a part in the Under-21s' defeat to Porto earlier in the week and are again in contention but are perhaps unlikely starters given their lack of match sharpness and the manager's desire not to rush them back.
Tom Cleverley, an unused substitute against Aston Villa last weekend is in a similar situation but is arguably that much closer to selection so it would not be a surprise to see him in the team should the manager decide to make some away-game adjustments and change a winning side by perhaps sacrificing Arouna Kone for the England midfielder. That would be harsh on the Ivorian given how well he played last weekend but he showed against West Ham that he can be ineffective in matches away from Goodison Park.
Unless Martinez does decide to pitch Baines into his first start, it's hard to see any other areas of the team where would tinker. As the wins over Sunderland and Villa demonstrated, the team seems to be beneftting enormously from continuity so it would be risky mixing things up now. A shuffing of the pack is more likely in the Capital One Cup at the Riverside next Tuesday.
Bouremouth, meanwhile, have been dealt a cruel hand in their first season in the top flight, with injuries to key players like Max Gradel, Tyrone Mings, and leading goalscorer Callum Wilson hobbling their chances of staying up early on. What they lack in squad depth they make up for in spirit under manager Eddie Howe and they some of that appeared to return at Swansea last weekend when they earned a 2-2 draw.
That followed a run of four consecutive defeats, however, and the Cherries haven't win in the Premier League for seven games now, a run that includes back-to-back 5-1 hammerings at the hands of Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium and Tottenham Hotspur at Dean Court.
And it's that latter result or Newcastle United's recent win on Bournemouth's turf in which Everton's visit this weekend should be framed – with the kind of attacking talent that Martinez boasts and the form that the likes of Romelu Lukaku, Gerard Deulofeu and Ross Barkley are in right now, this is a game the Blues really must win.
Kick off: 3pm
Referee: Kevin Friend
Predicted Line-up: Howard, Coleman, Stones, Funes Mori, Barry, McCarthy, Deulofeu, Barkley, Kone, Lukaku
Full coverage: ToffeeWeb Match Report
Reader Comments (55)
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1 Posted 27/11/2015 at 07:09:52
As Lyndon has pointed out, Bournemouth have been decimated by injuries. One player that has impressed me though, is Matt Ritchie. (No relation, as far as I know.) If we're to keep a clean sheet, we'd better keep him in check. He's their danger man.
2 Posted 27/11/2015 at 07:28:09
Good match preview otherwise, COYB!
3 Posted 27/11/2015 at 09:07:33
The only black cloud on the horizon is if the manager starts tinkering for no reason please RM leave the team as is from last game if possible.
4 Posted 27/11/2015 at 09:08:27
Our eventual best first team line-up is still under much debate. The present one suits me fine but I'm not sure it suits Martinez.
Down the right we are very solid with Stones, Coleman, McCarthy and Deulofeu. Down the left we have done very well with Funes Mori, Galloway, Barry and Kone but Martinez may prefer Jagielka, Baines. Barry and Cleverley. We'll just have to wait and see.
Also, With Mirallas, Naismith, Lennon, Besic. Gibson, Oviedo and Osman all chomping on the bit, the man in charge will need to be tough, ruthless and wise. I sincerely hope our boss is up to the task. A win over Bournemouth would be nice for starters.
5 Posted 27/11/2015 at 09:25:44
Of course it's stupid to talk about must-win games in November, but these are games we should be winning if we have any chance of a Champions League spot, and man for man, we're better than Bournemouth. 2-0 for us which would mean a 2nd clean sheet. Orgasmic stuff.
6 Posted 27/11/2015 at 09:29:45
If it's the latter then I'd give Mirallas a start and see where it takes us. If they're likely to try and frustrate us then I'd go with Kone. The interplay between Kone, Deulofeu, Lukaku and Barkley is starting to unlock teams.
7 Posted 27/11/2015 at 09:48:53
8 Posted 27/11/2015 at 09:53:54
Even though they were 2 up, they should've been 4 down at the break. Only poor defending and bad finishing on Swansea's behalf saved them.
We should batter them in all truth... and if we go at them, we will win it at a canter.
9 Posted 27/11/2015 at 10:28:03
10 Posted 27/11/2015 at 10:29:57
He looked really sharp and lively against Villa and I think he's more suited to our away counter-attack style than Kone, who for me is better at home were the game is tighter and the opposition are sitting deeper!
11 Posted 27/11/2015 at 10:44:03
Any manager who insists on playing attacking football at all costs is doomed when his team is fighting for survival in the Premier League and, for Howe, the outcome will be no different than it was for Holloway and Mowbry with other clubs before him.
Only an Everton win will be acceptable here if the Top Four dream is to be anymore than just that!
12 Posted 27/11/2015 at 10:45:26
I'm being a little over-optimistic here I know but with a win over Middlesbrough too that would take us into 2016 with 38 points at the halfway stage and a semi-final to look forward to, plus the FA Cup. That would represent an excellent first half of the season and help ward off the inevitable attempts to pry away some of our exciting youngsters in January.
13 Posted 27/11/2015 at 10:55:19
14 Posted 27/11/2015 at 10:56:28
Trust me, if we play like we have been playing in the last 3 games we will batter them.
Oh! Hang on a minute, I forgot this is Everton, anything could (and probably will) happen.
15 Posted 27/11/2015 at 11:35:33
16 Posted 27/11/2015 at 11:51:09
If we had kept him, we would have won our CL qualifiers.
Kudos to RM for being able to keep our star players.
Boos to OFM for losing so many of our star players starting with Rooney, Marcus Bent, Mad Dog, Arteta, Rodwell, Beattie, Bily (for playing him out of position), Fellaini (cause he nicked him from us when he left us for Man Utd) and many more.
17 Posted 27/11/2015 at 12:13:42
The way we're scoring at the moment, I would expect a high scoreline and hopefully a clean sheet. But as usual, you never know with Everton.
Just read we are the most lethal in front of goal with the highest shot to goal ratio in the Premier League.
18 Posted 27/11/2015 at 12:19:09
19 Posted 27/11/2015 at 12:27:14
21 Posted 27/11/2015 at 12:36:40
22 Posted 27/11/2015 at 12:40:54
23 Posted 27/11/2015 at 13:08:26
I would rather listen to Terry Groves to be honest.
24 Posted 27/11/2015 at 13:23:29
On our best form, I agree we should be favourites, but I've backed a lot of odds-on losers in my time and a lot of certainties get beat because they are too complacent! They think that they only need to turn up to win.
What I've seen of Bournemouth, which has not been a lot, they have had a rough deal from the refs which has cost them a good number of points.
I agree though we should get points out of the game; on paper, we look to have more than enough fire power.
25 Posted 27/11/2015 at 13:41:15
Eddie (#19), I suppose you could look at it that way but our goals for is quite strong in the league. It's our goals against which isn't great. That will never change with Howard in goal.
We look really strong going forward, and to be scoring so many goals from open play is good to see. I would just like to see us get a few from set pieces as well. We will need these in certain games against tight defensive teams.
26 Posted 27/11/2015 at 13:48:19
If we win and see off 'Boro next week, our future prospects will look much brighter for a successful season, so a 3-0 scoreline tomorrow would be very nice.
27 Posted 27/11/2015 at 14:06:36
29 Posted 27/11/2015 at 15:28:04
Also I think Baines and Cleverley would link up well together, although myself I'd like to see him in the centre for when Barry eventually starts getting knackered.
I read a stat the other day that said how our "old and knackered" Barry as some of the fans have labelled him, ran 8 miles against Villa more than anyone else on the pitch. I wonder how long he can keep that up for...
3 points is obviously what we're expecting here; it's difficult to imagine the Bournemouth defence being able to keep our front 4 quiet the way we're playing at the minute, but this is the Premier League after all.
I've always been a Martinez fan, maybe because I'm a little sentimental after watching our best season in years when he first arrived. I like the style of football he plays, I like his signings, and I like relationship he has with the club. But I must admit last season gave me doubt; please let the next 10 games be his chance to confirm that I was right to have faith in him.
30 Posted 27/11/2015 at 15:56:04
Since the introduction of Kone, he seems to take a lot of pressure off Lukaku. Yes, Mirallas played really well when he came on against Villa, and with that attitude he will be an asset should we need to make changes in the second half. For me, Gareth Barry is back to his best this season, and he controls the game for us.
I just hope that RM isn't tempted to play Cleverley in a wide left or right position. For me he is a central midfield player and at the moment you couldn't pick him ahead of Barry or McCarthy. No doubt, with injuries and the busy Xmas programme looming, he will get a chance to play.
31 Posted 27/11/2015 at 16:31:11
I hope he proves me wrong; over to you, Tom.
32 Posted 27/11/2015 at 16:31:33
The time to tinker is injury or loss of form. We have a strong bench.
UP THE BLUES
34 Posted 27/11/2015 at 17:48:59
35 Posted 27/11/2015 at 17:50:44
However, how far a player runs means very little in comparison to how many high-intensity sprints they perform. Barry is always on the move, but it's a steady jog. Other players may run 7.5 miles, but they put in dozens of high-intensity sprints. These stats are more indicative of effort and fitness than distance.
This isn't criticism of Barry, nor am I knocking his workrate, which has been excellent.
37 Posted 27/11/2015 at 18:02:19
38 Posted 27/11/2015 at 18:16:18
The side's been playing relatively well so with no injuries or suspensions it'll be harsh to drop anyone. I would stick with the same side and look to bring on the likes of Cleverley and maybe Baines to get some minutes in the second half. I would like to see Mirallas from the start but not sure who would be dropped.
Lucky for Martinez Jagielka is still out for a while as I think Funes Mori is doing a decent job.
39 Posted 27/11/2015 at 20:18:38
40 Posted 27/11/2015 at 20:34:13
41 Posted 27/11/2015 at 21:24:09
I'd start Kev tomorrow instead of Kone. He looked hungry last week when he came on. I know it might not be wise to tinker but he's a great option to play. This is where man-[management comes into play, RM.
42 Posted 27/11/2015 at 21:31:47
43 Posted 27/11/2015 at 21:53:11
Sometimes Everton can be their own worst enemies against teams at the bottom as the Sunderland game proved for the first half an hour; hopefully the return of Baines will help to get them in the driving seat early on.
44 Posted 27/11/2015 at 23:15:02
45 Posted 27/11/2015 at 23:45:47
46 Posted 27/11/2015 at 23:47:05
Barkley was doing the right things last week, getting in the box and making things happen. Long may that continue for a lad who's talent I do not doubt. However, I think Martinez should also be looking to Mirallas in that spot in the event that Barkley slips back into the form that sees games pass him by.
Mirallas has been wonderful from the bench and has earned much more than 10 minutes here or there.
Looking forward to this one!
47 Posted 28/11/2015 at 00:11:47
Harold, yes, bad weather is a potential problem but they're not a big, "lump it up" sort of team so it should still be an equal physical contest (if anything, we have the physical edge) and I expect us to win by two clear goals.
48 Posted 28/11/2015 at 01:04:33
Coleman, Stones, Funes Mori, Galloway;
Deulofeu, Barkley, Kone;
Coleman, Stones, Funes Mori, Baines;
Deulofeu, Mirallas, Lennon;
Still a winning team!
49 Posted 28/11/2015 at 02:48:41
50 Posted 28/11/2015 at 07:13:34
Mirallas and Gibson should start against Boro. I hope Mirallas looks like a hungry lion feasting for goals and prove himself to Martinez.
52 Posted 28/11/2015 at 07:54:20
53 Posted 28/11/2015 at 08:23:34
I disagree with some recent comments that Jags should come straight back into the team when fit. Funes Mori has shown us just why he is in the Argentine team (ahead of players like Demichelis), and surely can't just be dropped in an instant when the team is settled and playing so well. He could be the best signing RM has made.
Anyway, here's to three points today.
54 Posted 28/11/2015 at 10:36:46
55 Posted 28/11/2015 at 10:51:06
56 Posted 28/11/2015 at 11:58:44
57 Posted 28/11/2015 at 12:26:33
58 Posted 28/11/2015 at 13:03:38
Charlie Burnett @44 has the pulse of it, Roberto won't tinker today, but I think we may see Nessi back in there somewhere for Boro on Tuesday.
59 Posted 28/11/2015 at 13:58:27
60 Posted 28/11/2015 at 14:45:01
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