By Jimmie Lyden
Current Form (Last 5 League Games):
Current League Position:
Bournemouth face Everton today at the Vitality Stadium hoping to grab their third win of the season and their second home win of the campaign so far. Eddie Howe’s men are still besieged by injury problems with Artur Boruc needing to be assessed before the match after sustaining an injury against Swansea. Marc Pugh may be missing with a suspected calf problem whereas the Cherries have long-term injuries to Tommy Elphick, Tyrone Mings, Callum Wilson and Max Gradel.
Everton go into this game brimming with confidence after their 4-0 demolition job of basement side Aston Villa last weekend. Bosnian midfielder Muhammed Besic is back from injury and could play a part against the Cherries but Steven Pienaar, Bryan Oviedo and Tony Hibbert still remain unavailable for selection for Roberto Martinez.
Bournemouth: Matt Ritchie – The fact that the Scotland international is being linked with Manchester United shows how much he has developed over his time with the Cherries. Ritchie’s wonder goal against Sunderland and his incredible assist ratio (Only Cesc Fabregas has one more assist than Ritchie in the top four leagues of English football since the start of last year, 20 to Ritchie’s 19) has made him a key man for Eddie Howe’s side during their difficult transition to Premier League life. He will be up against two superb full-backs in Seamus Coleman and potentially fit-again Leighton Baines so he will need to remain in scintillating form to ensure that the Cherries grab a share of the spoils today.
Everton: Romelu Lukaku – The big Belgian has shrugged off some of the difficulties that plagued him last season and is banging goals in again for the blue half of Merseyside. Strong, athletic and an aerial threat, Bournemouth need to be on top form to keep the in-form Lukaku from adding to his 9 goals already this season, which puts him only behind Jamie Vardy in the list of PL top scorers. He will undoubtedly be supplemented by excellent work from Ross Barkley, Gerard Deulofeu and Arouna Kone so Bournemouth will need to tighten up their leaky defence otherwise Lukaku may end up being the top scorer in the league by the end of the day.
Prediction: Bournemouth 1-3 Everton
Everton are definitely a side capable of beating the very best when they are on top form whilst playing some breathtaking football alongside it. However, they can be plagued by inconsistency which was demonstrated in abundance last season when they finished a disappointingly low 13th. Roberto Martinez is under some pressure now in certain quarters after spending a lot of money during his regime so he will be keen to try and cement a place in the top six this afternoon. Bournemouth need to win to try and leapfrog Newcastle out of the relegation zone and to avoid being dragged further back from the rest of the pack in midtable. Bournemouth can be brilliant at home as last season’s fairytale campaign proved but without Callum Wilson and Max Gradel, I just do not think they will have enough to trouble the likes of John Stones, Seamus Coleman etc. Coupled with their leaky defence against one of the most deadly strikers in the league, I think today might just be more of the same for Eddie Howe’s men.