Seven Premier League matches take place this afternoon and our first port of call is the Vitality Stadium as Bournemouth play host to Everton. This is a fixture that has offered plenty of goals in the past couple of seasons and Eddie Howe will be hoping his side can serve up some later today especially with his side currently sitting in the bottom three.
The Cherries snatched a dramatic point against West Ham on Boxing Day but it was not without controversy as Callum Wilson leveled proceedings in injury time. At first it looked as if the goal was not going to be given as the Assistant Referee had raised his flag as he believed the forward to be in an offside position.
After some discussion between the officials the goal was given but to add even more insult to injury not only was Wilson offside from Nathan Ake’s initial touch he also touched the ball over the line with his hand, David Moyes rightly seething as the decision cost his side two points but a huge slice of luck for the home side.
A win would have seen them leapfrog the Hammers and move out of the relegation zone as things stand though they still find themselves a point behind the East London outfit in 18th place, however should they win today they could move as high as 13th in the table with only three points separating themselves and Stoke right now.
Bournemouth have the third worst defensive record in the Premier League this season and they will not have been helped by Asmir Begovic’s display on Boxing Day, a comical slip by the Bosnian in very wet conditions allowed West Ham to draw level and then you could argue that he should have done better in the build to the goal that looked like being the winner.
Eddie Howe will have to decide if those two aberrations are worthwhile Begovic being dropped to the bench but with Artur Boruc as the back up they may well be suited to stick with what they already have as they prepare for the visit of an Everton side who are still unbeaten since Sam Allardyce took charge.
That streak continued on Boxing Day after a goalless draw against West Brom at The Hawthorns, that was the second game in a row in which Everton had recorded a stalemate and although the defensive unit has been vastly improved since the arrival of Allardyce it is fair to say that they are still struggling to fill the void left behind after the departure of Romelu Lukaku in the Summer.
This however is something that the one time England manager has looked to rectify with the imminent arrival of Turkish international Cenk Tosun from Besiktas. The forward has been impressing many scouts with his displays both domestically and in continental competitions and a fee of £25m is enough to facilitate a move to Merseyside.
The Toffees have scored 24 goals in the Premier League this season with Wayne Rooney scoring 10 of them, an impressive return especially after the team had such a poor start to the campaign but if there is one criticism of the former England captain it is that he does have a habit of hitting a purple patch of form and then going quiet for a while.
Therefore the arrival of Tosun at the start of next month will add additional firepower for Everton and also take some of the weight off of Rooney’s shoulders. Allardyce has been a long time admirer of the Turkish forward and initially recommend him to the Crystal Palace hierarchy last season, it may have taken a bit longer than he had initially hoped but he has finally got his man.
This fixture comes around too soon for Tosun to feature but even without him I think Everton will have too much for a Bournemouth side who could do with a watertight defence of their own, Everton will still have designs on finishing seventh this season and they can only do that by picking up more wins, I think they’ll add three more points to their tally this afternoon.