First win of the 2018/19 season…check.
It looked closer than it should have been, but there was no denying last weekends victory against Southampton felt good. Next the Blues head to the unhappy hunting ground of the Vitality stadium as we look to secure our first Premier League away win against Bournemouth since their Premier League return. Our FA cup win in 2015 courtesy of goals from the departed Ross Barkely and Romelu Lukaku providing our only solace victory.
It’s almost certain to be our toughest test so far. Eddie Howe is a manager who would have been welcomed in the dugout at Goodison Park by some Blues, myself not being one…for the ‘record’. However, he has his side playing attractive football and coming of two back to back wins against Cardiff and the side who this season won our former honour of ”we thought we won the transfer window, but instead we bought a load of shite”, West Ham.
In truth, an away fixture to Bournemouth does fill me with angst. Not only are they in good form, playing good football and have a good record against us , but there is also the ever-present nightmares from 28/11/2015. A 98th-minute Bournemouth equaliser, cancelling out what we thought was destined to be a 95th-minute winner. That was an Everton-esque heartache of epic proportions. Add to that the images that surfaced in the fall out, with one ill-advised Evertonian seen invading the pitch during those celebrations in a pair of pastied Lonsdale trainers, well, it left the rest of us looking up to the sky asking why God why?
Anyway, that was three seasons ago now. These days, there is a trainers check on the away end and Everton are an all different beast. Marco’s men look good. Not perfect, but still, very good. Walcott’s tidy finish from a free-kick straight off the Finch Farm training ground was a particular highlight of these opening two games. Richarlison again capped off another great performance with another great goal. Could it be the Blue’s turn to unearth a Salah-esque player finally? Who knows at this stage. What I do know is that the youngster is flying with confidence. He attempted 21 offensive duels last weekend. 21!! Right now, he is a fearless man in form that is scary prospect for any opposition to face.
There is talk of Cherries looking to double up and target the Brazilian, a tactic that has been deployed before. He was one of the most fouled players in the League last season. However, with a dead ball specialist such as Sigurdsson in the side, free-kicks in and around the opposition penalty box are a more than welcome commodity.
If Everton really want to make up for lost time and push on this season for a difficult… but not impossible, top-six finish, then they must go to the likes of Bournemouth and obtain all three points. One is not enough. It will be tough, but a win on Saturday will really make us, and indeed the rest of the league, sit up and pay attention.
Have I said it’s good to be excited about Everton again yet? Well I am saying it again. Onwards and upwards Evertonians.