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Bournemouth vs Everton | Toffees sticking to the channels?

It's fair to say that Everton's biggest concern lies at the back. The Toffees kept two clean shee...

Bournemouth vs Everton | Toffe...

Bournemouth vs Everton | Toffees sticking to the channels?

It's fair to say that Everton's biggest concern lies at the back.

The Toffees kept two clean sheets at the start of the season. But since then, they have become porous in the Premier League and EFL Cup.

It culminated in a disappointing collapse at Bournemouth as they slipped to a 3-1 defeat. They were found wanting at set-pieces again, with the first two goals coming from that route.

But ahead of kick-off on Sunday, it was the attack that I wanted to take a look at.

Recently on Off The Ball, ex-Evertonian Kevin Kilbane had highlighted some of the issues contributing to their low-scoring at the start of the campaign.

As Kevin explained, Everton's current forwards - especially Dominic Calvert-Lewin - have a propensity to spin into the channels, leaving a lack of presence in the penalty area.

Their goal rate has gone up since then, so I wanted to see how Marco Silva's side are attacking now.

Stuck Channel

Calvert-Lewin's work-rate is a dream for managers and he got the nod to start on Sunday. Richarlison and Alex Iwobi flanked him, with Gylfi Sigurdsson in the attacking midfield role. Our own Seamus Coleman and Lucas Digne provided the width from full-back.

But what was interesting in the first-half was Richarlison deployed on the left, with Iwobi on the right. Normally, those players operate on the opposite flank. Yet, Richarlison almost fashioned a stunning goal on 18 minutes from that unlikely starting point. Drifting in from the left, the Brazil international smashed a long-range effort off the top of the crossbar.

However, other than that bit of individuality, Everton didn't create a huge deal until Bournemouth took the lead five minutes later. That prompted Silva to switch Iwobi and Richarlison to swap back to their more habitual flanks. From then, they attacked with a bit more fluency.

Which brings us to the hard-working Calvert-Lewin. A quick look at the Twitter replies to the tweet about the opening goal saw a few Evertonians giving out about the England Under-21 striker's ability to lead the line rather than concentrating on the fact they'd just conceded a poor goal.

As Kevin Kilbane had pointed out, Calvert-Lewin is excellent in the channels and when it comes to work-rate. About 37 minutes in, his hard-work almost paid off when he battled for the ball in the Bournemouth box, winning it back but unfortunately firing it over the bar above a crowd of players. In the second-half, he would hassle Steve Cook, and almost profiting but for some alert goalkeeping from Ramsdale.

Everton's goal

He also nearly set up Richarlison with a cross from the left flank in the first-half, before Digne later over-lapped and found the same target with another left-wing cross that the inside-forward headed wide. That left-to-right motion seemed to be their most dangerous route to goal up to the point they equalised on 43 minutes. And rather than it being a centre-forward at the end of it, Richarlison was the clear target.

But it was Calvert-Lewin who rose to the occasion - literally - just before half-time. Ireland captain Coleman played a crucial role. Interestingly, the stats show he (79) and Digne (91) had more touches of the ball than their team-mates. It's not usual, as Bournemouth's left-back had most touches for his own team. But given that Everton started with Fabian Delph and Morgan Schneiderlin at the heart of midfield in place of the injured Andre Gomes, perhaps it wasn't a surprise they didn't try to build through the middle. Gylfi Sigurdsson didn't have a huge influence in front of them either. There is also the fact that Everton's full-backs have been an area of strength since Coleman played opposite to Leighton Baines for many years.

Either way, Coleman got the move for the goal started, running down the right flank. He then fed Richarlison who ran onto a smart ball into the channel. The latter then swung in an inviting cross for Calvert-Lewin to climb highest and head home. It goes to show the benefit of having a striker getting himself into the right areas.

Kean Factor

It didn't happen often enough though. When Moise Kean replaced Calvert-Lewin as Everton chased the game, he almost helped fashion a goal while operating more centrally.

The ball was slipped through to him and although he wasn't responsible for the final effort at goal, at least Everton came close for once. It seems Kean is being eased in given his youth and the need for him to adapt to a new league. Coincidentally, when Kean started against Wolves before the international break, Everton scored three times - albeit against a side that went on to leak five this Saturday. He didn't score himself, mind you but that game accounts for more than half of the club's Premier League total this campaign. They also netted four when he started in the EFL Cup, again with a caveat that it was lower league Lincoln.

Five league goals in five games though overall is not good enough. Particularly, if they want to achieve their more lofty ambitions.

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Alex Iwobi Bournemouth Dominic Calvin-Lewin Everton Football Moise Kean Premier League Raf Diallo Richarlison Soccer