Key winners & losers as Zouma’s first Everton goal sinks Bournemouth

Key winners & losers as Zouma’s first Everton goal sinks Bournemouth

In a closely fought contest, Everton beat Bournemouth 2-0 in the rain.

The match at Goodison Park started out heavily in favour of the visitors but it ended up with The Toffees getting a win. Who were the winners and losers?

Winner: Lucas Digne

Lucas Digne has the second-most chances created for Everton in the Premier League this season, and the second-most created from open play too. He also has the joint-most assists with three. Lucas Digne is a left-back who Everton signed on the cheap because he had been deemed a “flop” by Barcelona, but that was mainly because he didn’t play as a result of having the best left-back on the planet ahead of him.

At Everton, playing every week, Digne has been (quite fittingly) the joint-best left-back in the Premier League this season (with Andrew Robertson). The Frenchman was great again today, defending his flank well and driving Everton forward with his superb crosses, creating constant pressure for Bournemouth’s backline. This came to a head with his superb forward run and deliciously clipped cross straight onto the head of Kurt Zouma, the aforementioned third assist of the season. A borderline world-class talent lighting up Everton’s games.

Loser: Joshua King

Bournemouth dominated the first half of the first half at Goodison. They started brightly and looked all set to keep Everton’s woes rolling further and further. Especially when, before even the ten minute mark, a cross from the right flew over everyone’s head and reached Joshua King unmarked at the back-post.

King’s touch was good, he brought the ball under his spell and looked ready to take an uncontested shot at the Everton goal… then he put it straight at Jordan Pickford. Now, sure, there was plenty of football played after that in the game and Bournemouth should have scored more times than just that, but King’s tepid miss really set the tone for the Cherries.

Winner: Ademola Lookman

Everton were under pressure in the first-half, serious pressure. They needed someone to step up, demand the ball, and fight them back into the match. In the end that wasn’t their £50m man Richarlison, nor their other £50m man Gylfi Sigurdsson… but their £11m youngster Ademola Lookman. The player they took a chance on from Charlton and who their last regime nearly drove from the club.

Lookman was sublime throughout the game, but his second half of the first-half was particularly impressive as it lifted Everton up and allowed them to become the dominant force in the game. His confidence carrying the ball, attacking defenders and creating chances for his team-mates really lifted the Toffees. And then right at the death it was his lovely run and cross that set-up Everton’s game-clinching goal for Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

Winner: Kurt Zouma

Kurt Zouma came into today’s game with two Premier League goals, one for two of the three Premier League clubs he had played for: Chelsea and Stoke. Everton are his third Premier League side, and the only one he hadn’t scored for. Until today.

In a closely fought game, it was going to take something special to break the deadlock and Zouma attacking the Everton set-piece at the near-post, rising to turn home Lucas Digne’s pinpoint cross was exactly that. The Frenchman added direction and power, driving the ball into the back of the net with his head and giving his side a priceless victory.

Winner: Marco Silva

Everton came into the game off the back of a win in the FA Cup, but a run of just one win in the last eight league games. Sure, they scored five goals in that win, but their abysmal form besides that saw many questioning eyes turning to Marco Silva.

Suddenly the narrative wasn’t that this hotshot coach was taking Everton to the next level but that Silva was experiencing yet another second half of the season crash. The win against Lincoln City was the minimum expected from that game, and so Everton simply had to win this game. Which, for a long time they didn’t look like doing. But Silva made adjustments, Everton broke through with two of his signings, and then Silva’s subs sealed the victory of Everton. A great day for the Portuguese.

Loser: Eddie Howe

Since the weather got cold, Bournemouth’s form has cooled in a most worrying way. Since November began they have won just two games, drawing once and losing a frankly ridiculous 11 games in the last 10 weeks. That is utterly disgraceful form and it has seen the Cherries slide miserably down the table into an underwhelming mid-table position.

Howe’s side began proceedings playing well, but when they couldn’t make the breakthrough they did fall off. And to make matters worse Howe seemed unable to rouse his men with his subs or tactical adjustments. Sure, Jordan Pickford played well for Everton, but Bournemouth didn’t exactly force him to be Lev Yashin Reborn or anything. Bournemouth have got a serious problem that Howe needs to address.