Two of the four Premier League sides with 41 points to their name meet at Goodison Park on Saturday, though visitors Bournemouth are a lot more satisfied with that total than their hosts.
Last weekend’s late FA Cup semi-final defeat to Manchester United increased the pressure on Everton manager Roberto Martinez, who was relying on the competition to win back some goodwill from the terraces after a disappointing league campaign.
The Toffees are winless in seven matches, and their last league outing was the 4-0 trouncing in the Merseyside derby at Anfield; a top-half finish now looks unlikely for Everton, surprising given the strength of their squad.
No team has drawn more than Everton in the top-flight this season, and one of the 14 occasions they have shared the points was in the reverse fixture against Bournemouth. The thrilling game at the Vitality Stadium ended 3-3 and included two goals in stoppage time.
Bournemouth have lost their last two matches and were comprehensively beaten 4-1 by Chelsea last weekend as fatigue starts to set in after a successful season, in which they have secured their Premier League status with time to spare.
Wednesday marked a year to the day since the Cherries sealed their promotion to the Premier League, and the south coast club have confounded all expectations and been a pleasing addition to the top-flight due to their attractive style of play, which has seen them record famous wins over the likes Chelsea and Manchester United this term.
Eddie Howe’s side have been more successful on the road than at home this season; six of their 11 wins have come on their travels, and this combined with Everton’s shaky home form will give the travelling hordes some hope that they can claim three points and leapfrog their opponents in the process.
The hosts are missing defender Phil Jagielka, Seamus Coleman and Ramiro Funes Mori, plus midfielder Gareth Barry, but 18-year old striker Kieran Dowell could be handed a debut after impressing in recent weeks for the club’s under-21 side.
Bournemouth will not risk midfielders Harry Arter or Max Gradel as both make their recoveries from knocks, whilst defender Adam Smith has seen a specialist about his injury and will miss the trip to Goodison Park.
League Positions: Everton – 11th (41 pts); Bournemouth – 14th (41 pts)
Previous Meeting: Bournemouth 3-3 Everton – November 28, 2015
Form: Everton – LLDDDL; Bournemouth – WLLWLL
Key Players: Everton – Romelu Lukaku; Bournemouth – Matt Ritchie
Shoot Says: Everton 2-2 Bournemouth