(Picture Source: evertonfc.com)
The very first piece of analysis on the website had to be a loss, typical. It was the first league defeat under our Dutch manager too; the Ronald Koeman era has started very well. Despite this, two defeats on the spin has left us all a little frustrated and after flying so high in recent weeks, it’s a bit bizarre how poor we were away to Bournemouth. The hosts scored with their only shot and even that was enough, so what did Everton do wrong? Here’s my analysis.
Both sides only made one change to the teams they started with in last week’s matches. Callum Wilson replaced Joshua King up front for the hosts and Bryan Oviedo replacing Leighton Baines at left-back for The Toffees. Bournemouth started in a 4231, Boruc in-goal, Adam Smith and Charlie Daniels starting in the full-back positions. Simon Francis and Steve Cook were in centre-back positions with Arter and Surman in holding midfield. Ibe and Stanislas were on the wings, Wilshere behind the striker and Wilson upfront.
Everton started in the same formation, Stekelenburg in-goal, Seamus Coleman and Bryan Oviedo right-back and left-back. Jagielka and Williams in centre-back roles with Gueye and Barry infront. Barkley, Mirallas and Bolasie were the attacking three sitting behind Romelu Lukaku upfront.
Howe vs Koeman – Previous Battle
Eddie Howe and Ronald Koeman have faced each other before, the last time being between Bournemouth and Southampton. Howe’s team were victors, beating Koeman’s Saints 2-0 at the Vitality, what’s disturbing is that statistics from that game and on Saturday are very similar.
Southampton had 53% of all their touches in the center of the field, whilst the hosts had 47%. Last weekend, Everton had 50% of their touches in the center but Bournemouth had just 45%. Both of these stats showed, Everton were totally exposed on the wings, same for Southampton months earlier under the same manager. As well as being completely outplayed, both maps reveal any sort of activity in the opposition box, the only access being through mediocre crosses from Seamus Coleman or Yannick Bolasie.
Koeman’s pressing tactics were ineffective against such a hard-working side, matches against more athletic and fitter sides could provide to be a big weakness against Everton.
How did the Toffees get it wrong?
The Gueye + Barry partnership has been one of the most underrated duos in the Premier League this season, a big part of that is due to their pressing play and work with the ball. Against Borough, they had a combined amount of 188 touches on the ball (82 for Baz, 106 for Gueye). Against Bournemouth, Barry had just 31 touches on the ball; Gueye had 61. They dropped much deeper than we’ve seen and that affected the amount of pressure they applied and the little influence going forward they had.
In fact, the pressing overall was painful to watch. Mirallas, Barkley and Bolasie were all 5 yards away from each other at times. The attacking three where way to central, Coleman and Oviedo received no support and where easily beaten by Ibe and Stanislas on the wings.
Our average team position is painful viewing; Bolasie was literally next to Lukaku. Overall, Bournemouth’s average team position has taught us how to play in a 4231, wingers actually having width, holding midfielder pressing while solidarity still retained at the back.
Bournemouth didn’t only press but got men behind the ball at times, especially in the second half. This caused a total shutdown of any balls coming into the penalty area, just 9 touches of the ball where in Bournemouth’s penalty area in the second 45, Lukaku having just 2 of them.
Everton couldn’t handle the change of formation, especially combining with the fantastic work rate the Bournemouth players have.
Bournemouth energy and teamwork
The hosts on Saturday covered 117km per game last season, which was more than any other team and that statistic showed. Every player was constantly applying pressure; even in the 90th minute you could see Arter and Afobe sprinting towards Williams and Jagielka when in possession.
Everton lost possession on countless occasions throughout the game, losing the ball 11 times in their own half during the 90 minutes. To compare to the hosts, they lost the ball just 6 times.
Bournemouth’s midfield containing of Arter, Surman and Wilshere completely controlled the game, they made 6 successful tackles between them. They cancelled any sort of creativity from Barry or Gueye, who are often the most reliable when building from the back.
To summarize, Everton were very poor. Barkley’s form is starting to become a concern, Mirallas has been missing for a while now and performances from Oviedo and Valencia were laughable. Bryan did nothing defensively and Valencia’s attempted diving header was the worse thing I’ve seen since Aiden McGeady missed that open goal against Wolfsburg. I’m not going to just slate the entire squad though, it’s our first loss in the league and we’ve already been much better under Ronald Koeman already. Tactics don’t come off all the time, however changes are needed.
Stats via Squawka, Whoscored and BBC,
Up the Toffees.