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Everton aim to make a bit of history at Bourmemouth

The Toffees have never won away at Bournemouth in the league - now would be a great time to start

AFC Bournemouth v Everton - Premier League Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images

Two unbeaten sides go head-to-head on Saturday as Everton make the long trip south to play Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium.

There’s certainly a feel-good factor about Everton now and not just because of their encouraging opening two performances of the season.

Off the pitch there is real feeling that the wrongs of last campaign have been corrected and that we can a look forward to the future with optimism.

A lot of it may seem basic - players playing in their correct positions, under-performing players being moved on, having a balanced squad with blend of youth and experience. But all that went out of the window last year with obvious results.

Marcel Brands has done an incredible job given he has only been at the club three months. It excites me to think what we will be able to do in the future now his feet are under the table.

On the pitch last weekend’s game against Southampton was a pretty accurate indicator of where we are as a team.

The football at times was superb, displaying dynamism, attacking intent and positivity - attributes sorely lacking last season. But the team also looked shaky at the back at times, especially at set pieces. The defending for Danny Ings’ goal was particularly poor and made the game a lot more nervy than it should have been.

Given it is a team in transition such patchy performances are to be expected and it’s up to us as fans to be patient. And to be fair to the the crowd they certainly played their part last week. For the first time in what feels like years to was a joy to go to a Goodison Park filled with excitement and optimism instead of bitterness and rancour. The bond between the team and supporters has been restored.

From what what I’ve seen so far there’s no reason why they cannot go on and win their next two games before the international break, laying solid foundations to build on ahead of a tricky run of fixtures in the autumn.

A.F.C. Bournemouth v Everton - Premier League Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images

To do so though they would have to create a bit of history. The Toffees have never won at Bournemouth in the league, with just one FA Cup and League Cup victory in the history books.

The three Premier League meetings at the Vitality Stadium have been largely frustrating affairs. Everton have lost the last two, while their first Premier League meeting saw them concede a two goal lead, re-take the lead in stoppage-time only to concede seconds later.

Peak Martinez.

In fact these fixtures have a habit of producing entertainment - with 25 goals scored in six Premier League encounters. Strap yourselves in!

The opposition

Bournemouth are loving life at present. Now into their fourth successive season in the top flight, the Cherries have beaten Cardiff and West Ham in their opening two matches.

Given they have never really been in serious relegation trouble in each of their last three Premier League campaigns is testament to the work done by Eddie Howe. The 40-year-old has established himself as one of the country’s brightest young managers having returned to the club in 2011 when they were in League One.

The boyhood Evertonian has often been linked with a move to Goodison Park and given his burgeoning reputation I wouldn’t be surprised if that became a reality at some point in the future.

West Ham United v AFC Bournemouth - Premier League Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images

The key to their success seems to be stability and patience. Howe has stayed loyal to many of the players who brought them up from the Championship while the board have shown no signs of panic when the club has gone on a poor run. Howe has also persisted with an attractive, positive brand of football, even when results haven’t gone their way.

Three players were brought in over the summer including Sheffield United youngster David Brooks, who had previously been linked with Everton.

Full-back Diego Rico joined from Leganes for £10.7m while a club record £25m was spent on Jefferson Lerma from Levante.

The result is a 100% start to the season, with the caveat being they were against two poor teams. That said they will go into this game full of confidence and will certainly be a stern test for Silva’s men.

Team news

Marco Silva has confirmed Lucas Digne will return to the squad after missing last weekend’s win over Southampton.

Yerry Mina and Andre Gomes remain sidelined though and are unlikely to feature until after the international break. Bernard has been training but remains short of match fitness so will be assessed ahead of the game.

Morgan Schneiderlin misses out after he was forced off last week but is expected to return to training next week.

Final word

A ground were we have never won in the league against a side boasting two wins from two so far - on paper this represents a tough assignment for the Toffees. But with our next five away games against Arsenal, Leicester, Chelsea, Man Utd and Liverpool, this is a glorious chance to secure a first away win and continue the momentum gain from two encouraging performances so far.