After AFC Bournemouth’s diabolical performance against Preston North End Eddie Howe must be thinking how can I drop anyone from the first XI.
Those who are not making the the first XI or the bench need to be giving the regulars a kick up the ass to push them on to greater heights. But after the PNE performance most of the regulars must be thinking if I turn up for training and show a shred of enthusiasm I’m almost guaranteed a start.
Take a look at the team that started against City and it is hard to see that being the same XI that will start against Everton. Wilson not starting was a poor choice for me. I appreciate what Eddie was trying to do but the result was almost inevitable, so why not try a more attacking approach and put City on the back foot. Anyway that game is gone and it’s on to the next one.
WHERE THERE IS HOPE THERE ARE POINTS
Everton are looking good with 13 points and sitting pretty in second place. But, take a look at who they have played so far this season, Spurs, West Brom, Stoke, Sunderland and Middlesbrough. The only team they didn’t beat was Spurs. We beat West Brom and probably would have got something out of everyone of those games (except Spurs of course, maybe). It will still be a very tough game because winning breeds confidence and they do have a top quality striker in Lukaku. But there is hope and where there is hope there are points. Eddie won’t have been a happy man this week and his team will be raring to get out there and prove their worth. Will we win? We have given up predicting the score, we are sh*t at it anyway. But, if we do what we think we need to then it will be a big fat yes.
3 THINGS AFCB NEED TO DO AGAINST EVERTON
01. Add some energy to our game
We still seem to be lacking the energy we had last season, especially at the start of the season. We are not getting forward as quick as we used to. Man City last week showed how devastating counter-attacking football can be. We are not as good as City but we still need to get forward quickly and get the ball quickly to the forwards and stretch the game. Is Eddie becoming more cautious? Is he trying to be less attack minded, hoping to get more points? Does he think that our players don’t have the quality he is looking for? Are the regulars getting on a bit and haven’t quite got the energy levels they used to have? We need to get back to what we are best known for and learn to defend better. It’s a fine balancing act and one that we need to get right soon.
02. Revert back to two up front
Goals win you games and we are struggling to get enough. Away to City getting more than one goal and hoping City wouldn’t score was hope of the highest degree. Josh King has pace and can score, but he works much better in tandem with Callum Wilson. Wilson is getting close to his best (hit the bar at City) and he needs as many games as possible to get him back firing on all cylinders. Tomorrow he scores.
03.Put Wilshire back on the bench
Going back with two up front means someone needs to be sacrificed in midfield. And for us the answer is simple Jack Wilshire. He is not fully fit and needs to be to get the best out of him. He needs to start on the bench and come on in the second half. Either to help keep possession or inject some guile into our play. At the moment it is a slow process getting him to where he needs to be. Until then he has to wait for his chance.
WHAT THE MANAGERS HAD TO SAY
TFTSE FAVOURITE – PAUL MERSON
When Everton get their best XI out on the pitch, they can give anybody a game but I was shocked by their result in midweek against Norwich. They are not in Europe so what are their objectives this year? A top-six finish would be great but it’s not smart to put all your eggs in one basket. If you lose two or three games on the spin in the league your fans can get disheartened, but if you have a cup run at the same time it helps massively. Still, Everton are a handful at the moment and Bournemouth will have a go, and I think that style of play could suit the visitors.
AFC BOURNEMOUTH 1-2 EVERTON
Everton have gone from strength to strength in the league under Ronald Koeman this season but were served a reality check in the League Cup when a relatively strong Everton side was dumped out 2-0. They are one of three teams let to taste defeat in the league and they will want to keep tabs with Manchester City on Saturday with a win here. The Toffees are unbeaten in all three of their previous meetings against Bournemouth and have scored at least two goals in each of those matches. The last time they visited the Vitality Stadium they thought they’d won the match with a last minute winner only to concede a dramatic equaliser in the 98th minute. They should have better fortunes this weekend.
AFC BOURNEMOUTH 1-2 EVERTON
Everton boss Ronald Koeman and Cherries manager Eddie Howe have criticised their teams after those displays, and I think they will be much improved – and much changed again – on Saturday