Everton return after the first international break of the season hoping to sustain the feel-good factor generated by that thrilling 3-2 victory over Wolves a fortnight ago.
It was a hugely satisfying result, not just for the three points but a resilient performance against one of the sides likely to challenge them for a European place this season.
As Adam explained in his excellent tactical analysis, Marco Silva successfully managed to get the best out of Gylfi Sigurdsson, while ensuring that Richarlison and Alex Iwobi remained effective. Andre Gomes and Fabian Delph looked like a balanced partnership in midfield, with the latter’s man of the match performance suggesting he could be one of the signings of the summer.
The two goals conceded were sloppy, but the character shown to respond, particularly after Wolves made it 2-2 with 15 minutes left, was hugely encouraging.
Seven points from four games and progress in the Carabao Cup is a solid start, even if the performance at Aston Villa still rankles.
Looking ahead, the visit of Manchester City on September 28 is the only team in their next six fixtures that finished above the Toffees last season. That should be tempered with the fact that in the equivalent fixtures last season (Sheffield United aside obviously) Everton only picked up four points.
The chance to right the wrongs of last year is an obvious motivation but so is the desire to get some points on the board ahead of an eight game run starting in November that features clashes with five of last season’s top six.
Bournemouth have become the modicum of stability since earning promotion to the top flight for the first time in their history in 2015.
They have rarely seen their status seriously threatened, with finishes of 16th, 19th, 12th and 14th.
That has been based around consistency in the dugout, with boyhood Evertonian Eddie Howe now in the eighth season of his second spell at the club, as well as an astute recruitment policy focused on developing young talent.
That continued this summer with 20-year-old Lloyd Kelly brought in from Bristol City and 23-year-old Jack Stacey arriving from Luton. Philip Billing is also a canny signing after impressing in an otherwise average Huddersfield team while Harry Wilson has two goals in four appearances following his loan move from Liverpool.
The Cherries have made a patchy start, with four points from their opening four games. Though there’s considerable mitigation in the fact their two defeats have come against Leicester and Manchester City.
They also have a decent record at home to Everton since their promotion, winning two and drawing two of the four Premier League clashes at the Vitality Stadium. The most notorious of those games came in November 2015, when Everton scored deep into stoppage-time only for Bournemouth to go straight up to the other end and equalise in a thrilling peak-Roberto Martinez 3-3 draw.
Everton 2-0 Bournemouth January 13 2019 (match report)
After a horrid mid-winter run yielding just one win from eight games, Everton claimed their first three points at Goodison Park since November with a gutsy 2-0 victory thanks to second half goals from Kurt Zouma and Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
Wolves (A) – Won 3-2
Lincoln (A – Carabao Cup) Won 4-2
Aston Villa (A) Lost 2-1
Crystal Palace (A) Drew 0-0
Watford (H) Won 1-0
Leicester (A) Lost 3-1
Forest Green (H – Carabao Cup) Drew 0-0 (Won 3-0 on penalties)
Man City (H) Lost 3-1
Aston Villa (A) Won 2-1
Sheffield United (H) Drew 1-1
Everton have no fresh injury concerns following the international break, with Jean-Philippe Gbamin and Jonas Lossl the only absentees.
Bournemouth are without Lloyd Kelly and Simon Francis but Lewis Cook could make his first appearance of 2019 after recovering from a knee injury.
What they said
Everton boss Marco Silva: “They are an offensive team and with players who can score in each moment of the game. They have individual quality in their attack line.
“They have pace, quality, tough players to play against. They are a tough team in the set-pieces also. It is up to us to be solid and to play our way.
“We will create chances, for sure, if we play in our way. We have to be a solid team, to go there with big ambition but to respect them because they want to change their last results.”
Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe: “I think the games against Everton have been really entertaining,” Howe said, at his pre-match press conference this morning.
”They’ve started the season really well, they’re a high level team.
“For me the start of the season has been that we’ve shown flashes of what we can do. The challenge is to find our true level and hit that consistently.”
Everton’s resurgence in recent months has been based around their home form, with just three wins from 12 matches on the road since the turn of the year.
Sunday would be the ideal time to start addressing that imbalance, especially with confidence seemingly high after that win over Wolves. But the Toffees have always found the Vitality Stadium a tough venue so an away point wouldn’t be sniffed at ahead of Sheffield United next week.