Two clubs languishing at the wrong end of the Premier League table will lock horns at Goodison Park tomorrow. Both Everton and AFC Bournemouth are currently in the bottom three, following troublesome starts to the new season.
While it is perhaps not surprising to see the Cherries struggling for form, much more was expected of big-spending Everton, who have looked disjointed and scored only two top-flight goals so far.
The Toffees’ form has nosedived since their opening-day victory over Stoke City. Their midweek Carabao Cup win over Sunderland provided a much needed morale boost, after they had conceded nine goals without reply in their previous three Premier League outings.
Bournemouth recorded their first points of the campaign at the fifth time of asking, thanks to a timely 2-1 victory over south coast rivals Brighton & Hove Albion last week. With a much-altered side, they then dispatched the same opponents in the Carabao Cup.
Everton boss Ronald Koeman has no fresh injury concerns and is expected to make sweeping changes to the side that eased past Sunderland, for which he rested a host of star players. For Bournemouth, Steve Cook comes back into contention after missing the league clash with Brighton through injury.
Jordon Ibe, who thoroughly impressed as a substitute in that game, is pushing for a place in the starting XI. Junior Stanislas made his first appearance of the season in midweek and could be a welcome addition to the bench, as Eddie Howe manages his return.
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Match prediction: Everton 1-1 Bournemouth
Bournemouth will look to capitalise on Everton’s lack of confidence by making a quick start and keeping the Goodison Park faithful quiet. An early goal for the visitors could turn the home supporters further against their side and pile more pressure on Koeman, who has been forced to dampen the high pre-season expectations at the club.