This article is part of Football FanCast’s The Chalkboard series, which provides a tactical insight into teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Everton’s clash with Bournemouth this weekend will be heavily influenced by a key battle between two players.
The Toffees have mostly enjoyed their encounters with Bournemouth since the latter’s promotion to the Premier League, having lost only twice in eight games, but will look to improve on the draw they claimed in their last visit.
A lot has changed since their last game at the Vitality Stadium more than a year ago, when they took a 2-0 lead despite Richarlison being sent off, only to be pegged back in the closing stages.
They are now more defensively resolute, and they ended last season with three clean sheets in four matches while they have kept two already this season, and Lucas Digne has been a part of the backline throughout.
If he is able to keep Harry Wilson quiet on Sunday then Marco Silva could claim his first away win of the Premier League season, but it is easier said than done.
The Frenchman helped his side to an eighth-placed finish last term – they conceded 46 goals, fewer than both Manchester United and Arsenal – but it is his threat going forward which makes him so useful, and such a fan favourite.
In 2018/19 he scored five and assisted nine and his attacking attributes should help to nullify Wilson’s danger since the on-loan Liverpool man could end up as preoccupied with defending as attacking himself.
That could be vital to Everton’s chances of getting a result, as the 22-year-old has two goals from his three league starts so far, and often looks to get involved in the final third, as evidenced by his 2.7 shots per game, according to Whoscored.
Added to that, he has averaged 1 key pass per game and as a result, Digne will need to get tighter to him than he did to Jota, who provided an assist from the right flank as Aston Villa beat the Toffees 2-0.
Watch Everton Live Streams With StreamFootball.tv Below
According to Whoscored, this season Digne has averaged 0.3 interceptions per match, which suggests that anticipating danger and marking his opponent is an area of weakness for the left-back, but he may find life easier against Wilson.
The winger is not blessed with blistering pace and therefore the former Barcelona man should be able to track him efficiently.
Going forward, Silva will also be relying on the 26-year-old to produce the goods, and his link-up with Richarlison could once again prove decisive.
A Digne cross allowed Richarlison to head home against both Lincoln and Wolves so if he can maintain or improve on his average of 2 successful crosses per game, then Everton may be able to take all three points away from the south coast this weekend.