By Tommy Churchyard – (@tommychurchyard)
AFC Bournemouth travel to Everton tomorrow in the hope of bringing an end to their poor run of form, which has seen them pick up just two points so far in 2017.
The Cherries are winless in their last four games and lost at home to relegation threatened Crystal Palace earlier this week, in a game that saw Palace pick up their first league win since the beginning of December.
Eddie Howe’s men come up against an Everton side in fine form. The Blues sit 7th in the table after going unbeaten in six games, four of which they have won, so it’s not going to be an easy task for Bournemouth tomorrow.
However, the Cherries enjoyed taking all three points from Everton earlier this season and Howe is hoping for more of the same tomorrow:
“I thought we were very good against them earlier in the season. We met that day an Everton team really in form, they had a really flying start to the season, but we got most phases of our play very good that day. The challenge is to do the same again, but it’s going to be very difficult, we meet Everton again in a good vain of form.”
Howe is well aware that his side have been struggling in recent weeks, and losing Callum Wilson for the rest of the season has been another blow to Bournemouth, but he believes that they can turn it around soon:
“We’re going through a difficult run of form, there’s no denying that. In football you have your ups and downs and its very important we remain focused and stick together. If we do all the things we’ve done historically then I think we’ll find out form again.
“Whenever you aren’t getting the results you want, that’s when you need to dig deeper and you need to really show your strength of character. We’re in that position now where we need to regroup, refocus, forget what’s happened, forget the recent games and look to the future and make sure we produce our best performance in this game coming up.”
Looking ahead to tomorrow’s game, Howe see’s Everton’s Romelu Lukaku as the opponents danger-man. The Belgian international has already scored 12 Premier League goals this season and Howe is wary of the danger he possesses:
“Their biggest threat is Lukaku upfront. He’s a big, strong, quick, powerful player and he’s got a big reputation, quite rightly so. He’s got a lovely left foot, so in terms of forward positions he is there biggest threat.”
Callum Wilson is ruled out for the rest of the season after rupturing an anterior cruciate ligament in training, meaning Benik Afobe will likely lead the line for Bournemouth.
Charlie Daniels is also doubtful due to a hamstring problem.
Everton midfielder Idrissa Gueye has returned from his trip to the Africa Cup of Nations with Senegal, so he could be involved for the Blues tomorrow.
Yannick Bolasie, Muhamed Besic and Dominic Calvert-Lewin all miss out through injury.
The game at Goodison Park kicks off at 3pm tomorrow.