It wasn’t the prettiest last time out at the Hawthorns, but Sam Allardyce’s unbeaten he start to life as Everton manager stretched to its seventh game on Boxing Day.
That draw at West Brom was Everton’s sixth clean sheet in their last eight fixtures.
So it’s a given the attacking side of the team is a worry, drawing two blanks in the last two outings.
It is no coincidence that the absence of Wayne Rooney has been a massive influence in the lack of goals, whereas Dominic Calvert-Lewin has featured in every league game this season, and it is most certainly showing.
The 20-year-old was looking completely burnt out by the time he was replaced by Oumar Niasse against the Baggies.
It is not looking good for Bournemouth; Eddie Howe’s side are 18th in the division after 20 games and have gone nine games without a win.
But they did pick up a point in their previous game against West Ham in controversial fashion when Callum Wilson made it 3-3 in the 93rd minute via his arm while in an offside position. But that is the type of luck a team needs to kick off a slow season – so the Blues must be wary.
Everton’s form at Dean Court since their promotion to the top flight hasn’t been the best, with *that* 3-3 draw two years ago before a lacklustre Toffees outfit went down 1-0 with a whimper last season.
But having already beaten the Cherries this term courtesy of a Niasse double off the bench there is no reason not to be confident.
Introducing the Everton Mishmash!
One to watch –
Joshua King has found the net three times in his last two appearances against the Blues and the Norway international’s turn of pace could be deadly on Saturday if he is selected.
Team news –
The hosts will be without talismanic centre forward Jermain Defoe, Tyrone Mings and Brad Smith. Charlie Daniels, Harry Arter, Andrew Surman and Junior Stanislas are also doubts.
Allardyce has confirmed Rooney has returned from the illness, while James McCarthy is fit and raring to go after a prolonged spell on the side-lines. This one will come too soon for Ross Barkley and Leighton Baines.
Man in the middle –
Lee Probert will officiate – he has refereed 16 games (eight of those being Premier League fixtures) this season, dishing out 26 yellows and dismissing four players.