After the confident dispatching of lowly Aston Villa, Everton travelled to face struggling Bournemouth. The side picked itself, remaining the same side that had torn Villa apart:

01

The opening fifteen minutes were quiet. Two sides trying to move the ball about in blustery conditions, but it was Bournemouth who created the only half chances to this point, with Matt Ritchie and Josh King cutting inside of Brendan Galloway and Seamus Coleman before both struck fairly tame efforts from the edge of the box that Tim Howard had no problem in dealing with.

Midway through the first half and Everton started to exert some pressure. Deulofeu whipped a couple of balls into the box looking for Lukaku, the second of which was over his head but led to a chance for Kone on the half volley which was turned away by Adam Federici at his front post. A James McCarthy low drive would be later parried just over the head of the onrushing Kone, and Everton had a series of corners. The pressure went on to tell, and Everton scored their first goal of the season from a set piece…

02

A good delivery from Ross Barkley found Funes Mori, who rose highest to head the ball back across the ‘keeper, and into the top corner of the goal. It should be noted that the only reason Everton got the decisive corner was because of a superbly timed James McCarthy tackle on Newcastle reject Dan Gosling…

03

Encouraging stuff from McCarthy, given the criticism aimed at him of late. His all action style was clear to see here, and had he not have been pressing so high to win the ball back, Everton would not have taken the lead.

We were growing in confidence, and assured in possession. Ten minutes before the half was up, and we doubled our advantage. It was a goal of real quality for Everton, and one that highlights the continued understanding between Romelu Lukaku and Gerard “the supplier” Deulofeu…

04

Deulofeu gets the ball in space down the Everton right. He looks up and sees Lukaku making a move between the two centre halves and plays one of his topspin deliveries, fast becoming a trademark of his… It was a ball we’ve seen many times before from Deulofeu, one he had already tried a little earlier in the game, but started it out too wide. Deulofeu drills the ball between Sylvain Distin at left centre half, and Charlie Daniels at left back…

05

Lukaku does the rest, taking a touch, holding off the challenge of Steve Cook and firing in from close range. Just the six assists from seven starts on the season for Deulofeu, and five of those assists going to Lukaku, it’s clear to see how much these two enjoy playing with one another. Ten league goals so far for Lukaku (the same number as he managed last season), and his all round performances have clicked into another gear since the derby. We’re seeing the best of Lukaku, who is thriving off the support he’s getting from the likes of Arouna Kone, Ross Barkley, and of course: Deulofeu. It was a goal made with the vision and ability of Deulofeu, and finished with the pace and power of Lukaku- look at the starting position of Cook in the first picture: he’s actually not in a bad position to deal with the run from Lukaku, but just can’t match the athleticism of the big man. Once Lukaku gets the ball under control, he can’t get near him to put a decent challenge in. A real glimpse into what might be with Deulofeu and Lukaku pulling the strings.

Before the half time whistle came, Bournemouth almost got an undeserved goal thanks to a poor decision from Tim Howard. A short corner was clipped into the box by the cherries, and Howard (who has recently claimed to not care about criticism of his recent performances) came charging off his line to try to clear the ball out. It was a poor decision.

06

It was a decent ball in, and because it was a short corner, he didn’t have as much time to make up the ground from his line, so he was caught in no man’s land, and had to watch the header loop over him, only to be hooked off the line by John Stones…

07

It’s a bittersweet moment for Evertonians- pleasing to see the goalkeeper try to be positive and help his defence out, but disappointing that his decision making is off, and almost costs his team. It was naïve goalkeeping from an experienced thirty six year old ‘keeper. Perhaps we’ve seen the reason why he’s been so reluctant to come for crosses.

Into the second half, and Bournemouth started much the brighter. They were quicker out of the traps than the toffees, but Everton weren’t helping themselves either…

08

Ross Barkley was being pressed in central midfield, but had a couple of out balls in Funes Mori and James McCarthy in front of him. Barkley tried to take too many touches, and as he turned, lost possession and Bournemouth countered…

09

It was a sloppy mistake from Barkley, and would go on to be indicative of the kind of half Everton would go on to have. On this occasion, as Junior Stanislas cut inside from the Bournemouth left, Seamus Coleman tracked his run well, and John Stones showed Josh King down the outside. Even in one on one exposed situations, you have full confidence in Stones, who bailed out his teammate with a diving challenge to block the shot…

10

A couple of minutes later, and it was Everton’s turn to threaten on the counter. Good hold up play from Arouna Kone released Gerard Deulofeu down the Everton right. Deulofeu fed the ball into the run of James McCarthy from deep who, when faced with the opportunity to shoot or pass to Lukaku, appeared to be caught in two minds…

11

With Lukaku in space, McCarthy wasn’t able to find him, and the chance went begging. This is an area of McCarthy’s game he really has to improve on. This should’ve been a relatively simple chance, one that Everton would go on to rue. Or at least it was one of them, as Everton went agonisingly close again, just ten minutes later. Good defensive work high up the pitch from Deulofeu meant he managed to pick Charlie Daniels’s pocket, and pinch the ball off him. Seamus Coleman took over, and put a beauty of a cross into the box, that was inches away from Lukaku in the middle…

12

Bournemouth were starting to up the tempo, and it coincided with Everton sinking deeper. A half chance for Stanislas from the edge of the box that was deflected wide, and forcing a routine low save from Howard. Their first real chance of note came with twenty minutes to do, however….

A ball in from the left found its way to Andy Ritchie in space, who struck his shot first time straight at Tim Howard…

13

It was a real moment of danger for Everton, Ritchie: a player capable of much better was in too much space in the middle of the goal, with Gosling just behind him, too. James McCarthy had just gone off injured, replaced by Tom Cleverley- perhaps that was a factor in the space here, but it’s a worry to see an Everton defence that have all dropped into the same area: maintaining their shape, but not picking up on the danger presented by the supporting players left alone. This is a familiar problem that has been evident since the opening game of the season (and has reared its head since)…

14

The first goal we conceded this season was similarly lax, and we have to get more street wise if we’re going to do anything with this season. We can play on the break and look threatening all we want, scoring goals from open play- three away from home on this occasion, but if we can’t track simple movement and stop marking fresh air, we’re going to continue dropping points that’ll hurt us.

Bournemouth were playing as you’d expect: they had nothing to lose. They were pressing forward, and were getting balls into the box from out wide with ease. There was no leadership from Everton, no player taking control: forcing the team higher, slowing the game down and keeping possession better. That was in part down to Bournemouth’s good play, but also down to Everton retreating so much. The inevitable happened, and with just over ten minutes to play, Bournemouth got themselves back into the game. It was a whopper from substitute Adam Smith, who lashed in a drive from distance after Everton had cleared the corner…

15

It’s a quality strike, and once it’s left his boot, there’s absolutely nothing anyone can do about it, but he had plenty of time to line the shot up, and was under no pressure as he hit it. Look at the bodies of those in blue closest to him: nobody has any forward momentum-  nobody is rushing toward the ball, nobody is showing the kind of desire and intent in defence needed at this time to see Everton through a tricky period in the game.

With four minutes of the ninety remaining, Bournemouth found an equaliser. Glenn Murray took a quick free kick and released Josh King down the Bournemouth right. Facing Brendan Galloway, King managed to get another low cross into the box…

16

Which was turned in by Junior Stanislas, with no Everton defender close enough to stop him, but plenty still determined to mark fresh air. Again. Good from Bournemouth, poor from Everton defensively.

Bournemouth could’ve sneaked a winner two minutes into stoppage time, but Charlie Daniels headed over from the corner: Everton in ‘looking susceptible from a set piece shocker’. Have I mentioned we’ve conceded more headed goals than any other side in the division? Nearly another one there.

Not to worry, as Ross Barkley would go on to score a dramatic late winner five minutes into stoppage time, squeezing the ball under the ‘keeper from close range. Only it wasn’t, as Everton managed to concede in the ninety eighth minute. And it was from another cross out wide. Another header. Another player in space in our box unmarked…

17

We threw away two points in stoppage time not once, but twice. We got exactly what our defending deserved.

And I never want to think about it ever again from this day on. League cup game on Tuesday…

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