Bournemouth v Everton preview: Cherries seek first win over Toffees
By Andrew Dickson
Last Updated: 24/09/16 2:40pm
With both teams going out of the EFL Cup to Championship opposition in midweek, Bournemouth and Everton will look to respond positively when they meet at the Vitality Stadium on Saturday.
There is a contrast between their league starts, however, with Ronald Koeman's men in their highest position for four years after four wins in their first five outings.
Bournemouth, meanwhile, are fourth from bottom and just a point above the relegation zone after losing three of their opening five matches.
They have never beaten Everton in six previous meetings but did score three times in the final 10 minutes to secure a 3-3 draw in this fixture last season.
Romelu Lukaku is set to return for Everton,
The striker, who has scored four goals in his last two games, missed Tuesday night's EFL Cup defeat by Norwich with a toe injury.
James McCarthy and Darron Gibson (both groin) are making good progress and should be back within two to three weeks but Muhamed Besic (knee) is a long-term absentee.
Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe said there are a "couple of injury issues" ahead of Saturday's game.
Midfielder Dan Gosling will be hoping to be in the team after scoring in the Cherries' 3-2 defeat to Preston in the EFL Cup on Tuesday, as he is yet to start in the league this season.
Howe is expected to field a different side to the one which faced the Sky Bet Championship outfit after making a number of changes for the cup game.
Everton have hit at least two goals in all of their six previous meetings with Bournemouth in all competitions, including seven in three games last season.
Bournemouth's equaliser from Junior Stanislas in last November's 3-3 draw was timed at 97:13, the second latest goal in the 2015/16 Premier League after John Terry (97:53), also against Everton.
After going 11 appearances and 1,028 minutes without a Premier League goal, Lukaku has now scored four times in his last two competition appearances.
Koeman lost his only previous Premier League trip to the Vitality Stadium as manager of Southampton last season, going down 2-0 in March.
Koeman has won 13 points from his first five Premier League games in charge of Everton. Previous manager Roberto Martinez took 12 points from his final 13 league games at the club.
On the last two occasions Everton won five of their opening six top-flight games in a season, they went on to win the title (1969-70 and 1962-63).
Bournemouth - who beat West Brom this month - have only won consecutive Premier League home games once before against Southampton and Swansea in March. Everton haven't won three consecutive Premier League away games since April 2014.
This is a tough game for Bournemouth because Everton are a very good team. When they get their best XI out on the pitch, they can give anybody a game.
I was shocked by their result in midweek against Norwich. They are not in Europe so what are their objectives this year?
A top-six finish would be great but it's not smart to put all your eggs in one basket. If you lose two or three games on the spin fans can get disheartened - but if you have a cup run at the same time it helps.
Everton are a handful at the moment and Bournemouth will have a go - they play an open style of football.
Paul predicts: 1-2 (Sky Bet odds 15/2)
Everton's impressive league form sees them head to Bournemouth as Sky Bet's 11/10 favourites, with the Cherries 12/5, the same price as a draw.
The Toffees' fine start has seen them cut from 16/1 to 9/2 for a top-four finish, while they're in to 66/1 to win the Premier League.
Romelu Lukaku heads the first goalscorer betting at 4/1, while Josh King and Callum Wilson are rated the hosts' main threats at 13/2 apiece.