Team fails to get service to Lukaku
One of the key reasons for Everton’s success in the early stages of the season has been their ability to get the ball to Romelu Lukaku in dangerous areas. We saw it in the games against Sunderland and Middlesbrough, and the increased focus on Lukaku means more space for the midfielders to operate. However, against Bournemouth, the team’s ability to get Lukaku the ball was nearly nonexistent. The times Lukaku did see the ball, it was with his back to goal and far enough away from the penalty area that he was unable to do anything with the ball when he got it.
The strategy of pumping crosses into the box also failed the team in this match. Yannick Bolasie was the only player capable of getting the ball into the box with any consistency, but even his efforts were often thwarted by the defense or his own overly complicated dribbling. Seamus Coleman was rarely able to find space to get a cross in and any service from the left was negligible. When Everton did try to play the ball on the ground, their seemed to be no poise on the ball and more often than not the attack was done before it began.
The reliance on Gareth Barry exposed
He was the player of the season last year and is clearly making a case as one of the most important players on the squad this year. Gareth Barry’s importance to the midfield and squad as a whole has been evident in the wins and now even more clear in this loss. It was clear early on that an ankle injury was causing Barry some problems. He seemed off the pace and unable to provide the defensive cover that allows the players in front of him to be at their best.
With Barry nursing an injury, Idrissa Gueye wasn’t as effective, there were less balls won in the midfield and Bournemouth’s midfielders were able to slice and dice the Everton defense time and time again. The lack of depth in defensive midfield reared it’s ugly head with the appearance of Tom Cleverley. Cleverley is a fine player when put in the right position, but defensive midfield is not it. Both of the team’s back up midfielders are out with injury, though both James McCarthy and Darron Gibson should be back with the squad in a fortnight or so.
These are must-win games for ambitious Everton
Despite Ronald Koeman’s cautious expectations for Everton this season, many fans are expecting this squad to at least be in the conversation for a spot in Europe. With a good manager and a huge influx of money and talent, there is no reason a team of Everton’s quality should be losing to lower table teams like Bournemouth. We cannot expect to gain much in the way of points from the top tier teams, so winning against lower table squads is a must. Even though it is still early in the season, every point counts, especially later in the season when we’re facing the likes of Manchester City and Arsenal who look in imperious form.