Bournemouth vs Everton

Friday, 29 December, 2017 0comments  |  Jump to last
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Wayne Rooney is available again after overcoming a virus

Everton close out 2017 with a trip to Bournemouth looking to secure what would be only their third away win of the calendar year.

The Blues' abysmal away form under Ronald Koeman, where they registered a solitary victory at Crystal Palace last January, has only marginally improved in recent weeks with the narrow success at Newcastle and they were held to a goalless bore draw at struggling West Brom on Boxing Day.

A visit to another club battling to avoid a relegation battle in the second half of the campaign offers another chance to end the year on a high, however.

Having failed to win any of their last eight Premier League matches, Bournemouth will begin the weekend in the drop zone but will take heart from their recent performances at the Vitality Stadium against Everton. They battled back to draw 3-3 in this fixture in 2015 and beat the Blues in September last year thanks to Junior Stanislas's solitary goal.

Eddie Howe's plans this time have been hit hard by injuries to his forward line, however. Stanislas is ruled out along with Jermain Defoe while Josh King and midfielder Andrew Surman will undergo late fitness tests to see if they can make it.

Sam Allardyce, meanwhile, wasn't shy in expressing his frustrations with the striking options at his disposal as he discussed his options in the coming transfer window where Besiktas striker Cenk Tosun has emerged as a top target.

"Players already here, like Sandro, haven't picked up the pace of the Premier League,” the boss said today. “He hasn't been able to show what he showed in Spain.

”I think Oumar [Niasse], while he has scored, hasn't made a regular place in the Everton side. And young [Dominic] Calvert-Lewin is battling away but still his goal record is around four.

“I think he's got a bright future, but I don't think we can rely on him week in and week out at the moment."

While a deal for Tosun is reportedly close, he wouldn't be able to sign until the New Year so Allardyce will continue with the options available to him right now.

Wayne Rooney's return from illness will come as a big boost for this game and James McCarthy seems to finally be fit following a succession of soft-tissue complaints but Idrissa Gueye is unlikely to be risked.

Leighton Baines won't be ready, however. The fullback continues to struggle with a calf complaint and isn't expected to resume training for another couple of weeks or so which will require Cuco Martina to deputise again out of his natural position on the left.

Kick-off: 3pm, Saturday 30 December, 2017
Referee:
Last Time: Bournemouth 1 - 0 Everton

Predicted Line-up: Pickford, Kenny, Holgate, Keane, Williams, Martina, Schneiderlin, Lennon, Rooney, Sigurdsson, Calvert-Lewin