Everton take on Bournemouth at Goodison Park in a repeat of that nerve-shredding afternoon back in May knowing that another tense battle against the drop is likely unless results improve.
After back-to-back victories on the road Evertonians were buoyant heading to L4 for the Luton game last weekend. Three wins in a week and a nice safe spot in mid-table was up for grabs.
But this is Everton remember. We cannot have nice things.
Another desperate performance saw the newly-promoted Hatters come away with a 2-1 victory, their first win of the season and first in the top flight since 1992.
True, they only had two shots on target (to make it six in three games against Wolves, Fulham and Luton) but they were a constant threat at set pieces, particularly in the first half, and deserved at least a point.
Everton began brightly, as they have done in most of their home games this season, but became increasingly desperate as the game wore on.
Four home games, four defeats, one goal. And a relatively kind start to the season tossed away.
It is just so infuriating.
Liverpool, West Ham and Brighton await after the international break so things are about to get a whole lot tougher.
Fail to win here and any chance to give themselves breathing space will have gone.
For a long time last season Everton v Bournemouth looked like a final day shootout to stay up, but the face the Cherries were comfortably safe by that point is testament to their efforts in the run-in last year.
But the Premier League is a ruthless place, particularly with an ambitious owner like Bill Foley, so Gary O’Neil’s reward was the sack, with former Ray Vallecano boss Andoni Iraola replacing him.
More than £100m was spent on summer signings, including Tyler Adams, Justin Kluivert and Alex Scott, but that has yet to translate into results.
The Cherries are one of just two teams yet to win this season, drawing three and losing four of their first seven games. Though in mitigation their defeats have been against Tottenham, Liverpool, Brighton and Arsenal.
Iraola told a news conference on Friday that he sees Saturday’s game as a great chance for his side to get off the mark, which says it all really.
Everton 1-0 Bournemouth, 28 May 2023
An afternoon Evertonians will never forget. The Toffees were 33 minutes from relegation before an Abdolaye Doucoure rocket sealed victory against Bournemouth and hauled themselves back over the dreaded dotted line at the expense of Leicester.
Sean Dyche is closing to having a fully fit squad available with Andre Gomes edging closer to a return after a calf problem.
Seamus Coleman is making progress from his knee injury but is not quite ready to feature, leaving Dele Alli as the only other absentee.
What they said
Everton manager Sean Dyche: “It was a strong performance [against Luton] and dominant in so many metrics. But we didn’t win and I’m well aware the business is about winning games. That’s something I’ve always been acutely aware of.
“People sometimes ask me: ‘Why do you play like this? Why do you play that way?’ Ultimately, you have to win football matches. We’ve delivered the performances, but we’ve not won enough games. That’s got to change, quite obviously.
“[We’ve had a] big step forward and then a big step back. We had a very good opportunity, and the performance was there, but the outcome wasn’t. The story could’ve changed very quickly, and can again.
“I think there’s a good mindset towards it. It’s just frustrating that every time we’re on the cusp of changing the noise, we take a step back again. We have to change that.”
Bournemouth boss Andoni Iraola: “In the next games, we will see where we are exactly as a football team.
“The first chance we have to obtain the first win is tomorrow at Everton away, a club that is with us in the standings and I think it’s a good chance.
“They are physically very powerful, they have players that can cover a lot of space, that’s why they are so good in second balls.
“With [Abdoulaye] Doucoure, with [Amadou] Onana, they make the pitch big and they have very good wingers, so we have to be ready.
“Even [Jordan] Pickford with long balls, his kick is very, very long, so you have to be ready in two or three seconds to defend your box.”
This isn’t quite must win, unlike the last meeting in May, but failure to pick up three points could have consequences later in the campaign.