Everton travel to Bournemouth looking to carry on their swashbuckling Premier League form and cementing their 2nd place standing in the league. The Ronald Koeman managed Toffees have flown off the blocks and have looked a completely new unit under the former Southampton boss and Saturday’s match will open up a keen contest between two highly rated managers in the league, with Eddie Howe finalizing the tactics in a bid to bring the Everton juggernaut to a halt. We take a brief look at the 3 key battles which are expected to have a bearing on the outcome at the end of the 90 minutes.
IDRISSA GUEYE VS JACK WILSHERE
Gueye has struck up a solid partnership with Gareth Barry at the base of midfield and the duo will be vital to Everton finally becoming a defensively sound team. They have been successful in turning the possession over and snuffing out the passes from the opposition attackers.
They will be faced with Jack Wilshere in the advanced position in the Bournemouth team and although the Arsenal loanee hasn’t exactly hit the ground running, he possesses enough quality to turn the game around in a matter of a few minutes. His close control and dribbling skills will need detailed attention and are something which is likely to keep one if not both the defensive midfielders busy.
ROMELU LUKAKU VS BOURNEMOUTH DEFENCE
Romelu Lukaku started the league slowly but has gradually hit his strides as evidenced by his 11-minute hat-trick against Sunderland. He is likely to be fit for the encounter and will look to dominate the defenders in his inimitable style.
The burly Belgian will be a threat all game and can punish the defence in any flaw that might be forthcoming from the likes of Cook and Francis. They need to stick to the striker and can ill afford to shy away from a physical duel throughout the game. Everton attack from the wings quite often and put in crosses which needs to be dealt with by the two centre-backs.
ADAM SMITH VS LEIGHTON BAINES
A tussle between two full-backs is not the most heard of but with two attacking fullbacks expected to indulge in multiple attempts to get on the other’s outside and put the ball into the opposition’s penalty box, it seems that we will be seeing the two of them competing quite frequently on Saturday. Baines is traditionally strong going forward and after a couple of stop-start campaigns, is finally looking to have an uninterrupted season at his peak form. While Adam Smith is Bournemouth’s joint-highest goal-scorer with 1 goal and has also provided an assist illustrating the amount of work he will put into marauding down the wing.