It certainly wasn’t the prettiest of victories, but it’s the one Everton needed most. A backs-to-the-wall, resilient smash-and-grab.
For the opening 30 minutes AFC Bournemouth played the Toffees off the park and were unlucky not to be ahead. But a strong end to the first half and start to the second half saw Everton take the lead, before holding on and securing all three points with a last-gasp second goal from Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
But what do the numbers tell us about this gritty victory at Goodison Park?
Cool Hand Luke
All-round excellence from youngster
Ademola Lookman put in a confident, creative, hard-working, technically-apt and defensive sound performance against the Cherries. It’s what Everton have been desperately lacking on the right wing.
The youngster had the most touches of any of Everton’s front four, completed four dribbles, earned three fouls, made two tackles and two interceptions – none of which Walcott has beaten in any single game this season.
Lookman was by far the Blues’ biggest threat in the first half, with some teasing crosses and jinking runs unfortunate to go unrewarded. He final got his just desserts in the 95th minute though, showing excellent composure to tee up Dominic Calvert-Lewin for Everton’s second.
Digne Dominant (What’s New?)
Frenchman tops assists chart
It was another masterclass from the Frenchman :Lucas Digne at left-back, adding another assist to his tally for the season when he totted up Kurt Zouma for the opening goal. That’s three assists and three goals in the Premier League for Digne this season, putting him joint top of Everton’s assist table, and joint fourth top goalscorer – not bad for a left-back.
Certainly looks like the Blues have found the successor to club legend Leighton Baines right away.
Everton made 19 tackles against Bournemouth
With confidence obviously low in the team, throwing in some firm tackles and harrying defenders certainly helped keep the fans onside.
On other days, the Goodison groan after such a performance as shown in the opening 30 minutes may have been intolerable. However, some firm tackling helped keep the fans onside (and instead focus their energies on some questionable refereeing decisions, thank you Anthony Taylor).
Everton have averaged 17.2 tackles and 11.3 interceptions per match this season, but this feisty performance saw the Blues make 19 tackles and 14 interceptions. When times are tough, these are exactly the sort of performances the Toffees need and should demonstrate that the players are fully behind the manager.
Bernard: Defensive Machine
Diminutive Brazilian made most tackles on the pitch
When Everton signed a 5’4” Brazilian winger, Evertonians may have been excited about some added flair at Goodison, but few could have predicted such a vital defensive contribution from the former Shakhtar Donetsk man.
Indeed, Bernard made a remarkable five tackles against Bournemouth – more than any player on the pitch. He’s looking the perfect addition for the type of football Marco Silva wants to play.
First Clean Sheet Since November
Post and Pickford protect Blues
For the first time since a ground out 1-0 win over Cardiff City at the end of November Everton kept a clean sheet. No wonder Marco Silva was as pleased about it as he was.
It took a bit of luck, with the far post and Jordan Pickford coming to the rescue on occasions, but defensive grit helped Everton take all three points here.