Everton head to the coast tomorrow with an opportunity to rise to third place, despite all our various frustrations this season. Other than Jean-Philippe Gbamin (and Jonas Lössl), the Blues return from the international break in good health, too. Everton could very easily win six of their next seven matches. It’s time to go on a run. How will they line up against a typically feisty AFC Bournemouth side?
Tactics and Formation
We spent the early part of this season suspecting that Everton would look to be a more possession-based side than a high-pressing one following the loss of Idrissa Gueye this summer. That may in part come to pass later in the season, but the Toffees under Marco Silva remain a team that likes to press its opponents pretty high up the field.
The addition of a pretty defensively-sound winger in Alex Iwobi helps there, and against Eddie Howe and Bournemouth, who do like to play a free-flowing style (at least relative to most mid-table teams), we’d expect to see Everton press pretty heavily again this week.
Starters (likelihood of starting rated out of 10)
Jordan Pickford - 10/10
Lucas Digne - 10/10
Yerry Mina - 10/10
Michael Keane - 10/10
In their last two matches, Mina and Keane have given up a combined four goals to Aston Villa and Wolverhampton, and Keane was part of an England defense that conceded three to Kosovo over the international break. Last season, that probably would have been enough to break up the preferred pairing and give the third CB a shot.
Marco Silva doesn’t have that luxury though, with only Mason Holgate behind these two on the depth chart — a player who represents a significant drop in both talent and experience. We aren’t legitimately worried about this duo — at least not yet — but it is unsettling that there isn’t a true plan B.
Seamus Coleman - 10/10
Andre Gomes - 8/10
Fabian Delph - 10/10
Richarlison rightly earned the majority of the post-match attention following the Wolves victory, but Delph was just as influential on the whole. He brought a sense of control to the midfield in a way that we haven’t seen Gomes or Morgan Schneiderlin do yet this season.
It’s hard to see a world in which Delph comes out of the lineup, though Schneiderlin in for Gomes remains an outside possibility to contend with Ryan Fraser.
Gylfi Sigurdsson - 10/10
Richarlison - 10/10
Alex Iwobi - 9/10
After Bernard’s positive start to the season, there was some question about the speed with which Iwobi would supplant the Brazilian on the left wing.
The answer? Not very long, once he was given a chance. Bernard will continue to have an important role for this club, but Iwobi has already proven clearly his quality, and will be a surefire first XI player.
Moise Kean - 9/10
The flashes of brilliance are there for Kean — in ways that Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Cenk Tosun just can’t offer. Both the alternative options at striker have their strengths and could be important players before the season is over, but Kean, even if he’s still more potential than finished product, just has too much game-breaking skill to sit on the bench.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin -
Bournemouth have struggled, to say the least, early this season. They’ve got just the one win, were thrashed by Manchester City and Leicester City, and required penalties to get past Forest Green Rovers in the League Cup. Let’s take all three.