Premier League action returned this weekend after the international break as Bournemouth took on Everton. In the last five meetings between these two teams, there were 21 goals scored and it was more of the same on Sunday. Coming into this game both teams have been struggling for consistency. Bournemouth were coming off of a defeat to Leicester, and this victory was a statement that they too should be considered among the likes of Leicester and Wolves.
As expected, both teams lined up in familiar formations. Bournemouth lined up in a 4-4-2 with Dominic Solanke dropping behind Callum Wilson to link-up play. Harry Wilson also tended to drift centrally from the right-hand side to help support the midfield. For Everton, Alex Iwobi and Richarlison drifted centrally playing more as inside forwards to overload the midfield since Bournemouth were playing with only two central midfielders.
Bournemouth build-up and Everton pressing set-up
During the build-up, either Lewis Cook or Philip Billing would drop into the defence forming a back three.
In doing so, it allowed the fullbacks to push higher up the pitch, favouring wing play. This allowed Harry Wilson to drift centrally since Jack Stacey provided width while Diego Rico created overloads on the left wing with Joshua King. This proved to be especially useful since 19 of their attacks came from the left-hand side. King was one of Bournemouth’s most dangerous players attempting 12 dribbles, completing six of them – more than anyone on the pitch.
To counter this, Everton would often press high with 4-4-2 as below or 4-1-3-2 with Gylfi Sigurdsson advancing to cover the extra midfielder. One of Schneiderlin or Delph would usually advance into the space left by Sigurddson to make the 4-1-3-2.
This often limited Bournemouth’s central passing options, limiting their ability to play out from the back and on a couple of occasions were able to win the ball back and attack the Bournemouth goal.
Everton overload Bournemouth midfield
Marco Silva recognized that Bournemouth would usually play with only two central midfielders. To overload the midfield, he instructed Richarlison and Iwobi to come in from the wings and occupy central positions between the opposition midfield and defensive lines. This helped to create a number of chances and in fact, Richarlison hits the crossbar in the image below.
The width was provided from Lucas Digne and Seamus Coleman charging up from fullback. Occasionally Delph would act as a false fullback to push Digne higher up the pitch.
However, to counter this, Bournemouth were often quite horizontally compact. This limited the space in the midfield and sought to cover Bournemouth’s lack of midfield depth. As you can see below, Josh King comes in from the left wing to compress the space in midfield.
Everton making basic defensive errors
Throughout this game, Everton created numerous chances and Marco Silva will be disappointed to come out with zero points. This is supported by the stats as Everton had an xG of 1.23 compared to Bournemouth’s 1.17. However, what ultimately cost them was their lack of awareness at crucial moments. The first goal Everton conceded came from a corner. Everton chose to defend zonally, however, Dominic Calvert-Lewin fails to realize Solanke is behind who sets Callum Wilson up for an easy finish.
For the second goal, Delph attacks the ball with his left foot instead of his right conceding a goal from a poor freekick from Ryan Fraser. Delph’s initial positioning and judgment of the ball is good. However, he inexplicably cuts across his body using his left foot instead of using his stronger right foot which would have provided greater extension. Unfortunately, in this case, he scuffs the clearance and the ball ends up in the back of the net.
Finally, for the third goal, Yerry Mina steps forward to head the ball out of the path of Callum Wilson. However, after doing so, he is caught ball watching instead of dropping back into position. Thus, Rico is able to play a very good ball behind the defence for Callum Wilson to run onto and score.
Bournemouth lockdown at the end
Near the end of the match, Bournemouth was forced to abandon their attacking vision in order to secure the victory. Rather than being attacked on the counter or caught out in the build-up, Bournemouth opted for a more pragmatic approach. Bournemouth defended with all of their men around their own box as you can see below, with one more out of sight.
After scoring two goals, Bournemouth’s long pass share % increased dramatically after scoring two goals. This was because they would often clear the ball forward into their strikers to relieve the constant pressure they were under from Everton near the end of the game.
As shown in this analysis, Everton will feel as though had they had more quality in the final third they would have been able to come out with something. This result will no doubt put Marco Silva’s position as head coach of Everton into further doubt, however, his team did him no favours tonight.
Eddie Howe and company will feel as though it was a job well done, but will no doubt know that there were many aspects that they could improve upon going forward.
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