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FOOTBALL PREVIEW: Everton vs Bournemouth – ‘We want to finish the season well at home’

The longest Premier League season in history will finally conclude on Sunday and Everton’s last game of the campaign will be at home against relegation threatened Bournemouth. Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti has insisted that he wants to end the season with a win stating because ‘We’ve done well at home… we want to finish the season well at home’ with Everton having the second best current home record in the division.

After a 1-0 win against Sheffield United in the previous game Everton supporters will be hoping for another victory to round the largely disappointing season off. Everton looked like a totally different side away to Chris Wilder’s side as Richarlison’s header sealed the three points. But it was the way Everton played that was the pleasant surprise. There was plenty of neat and attractive football on display which has ben rare since the restart.

FOOTBALL PREVIEW: Everton vs Bournemouth - ‘We want to finish the season well at home’

It may have been due to the formation change by Ancelotti who started the game with a 4-2-3-1 system. For the majority of his time at the club so far, the Italian has mainly used the 4-4-2 formation but also at times used a back three. However, it seemed the system that was used against Sheffield United got the best out of the players and it’ll please Everton fans to see the players line-up in that same way.

Potentially it could be a corner turned for Everton after some dismal performances before the Sheffield United win. Ending the season with back to back wins will give supporters much enthusiasm for next season which starts on the 12th September which is ever so soon.

One player who has stood out in the last couple of games is youngster Jarrad Branthwaite. He has had to play for the first-team due to Everton’s injury problems at the back, but he has fitted right in. He looked calm and composed with the ball at his feet which is vital for Ancelotti’s style of play and Branthwaite may just make Everton think twice about splashing the cash on some defensive reinforcements in the summer.

Ancleotti continued to heap praise on the defender saying that ‘He has worked with us in the last months and improved a lot. We are really impressed with him, above all how he is able to manage the pressure that he has. His character is good’. That praise from one of the most prestigious managers in the world can only be a good thing for his confidence and it is likely that he will start on Sunday.

That is because Ancleotti confirmed in his press conference that Yerry Mina, Mason Holgate and Fabian Delph will all be unavailable. They should all be fit and firing for the new campaign though so there is not a need to panic. Moise Kean is a doubt but may be available from the bench.

One player who could possibly be playing their last game for Everton on the weekend is legend Leighton Baines. The left-back, who is regarded as one of the best in the Premier League era, has played a remarkable 419 games for the club in all competitions scoring 39 goals and assisting 67. He has been at the club for 12 years and many will be gutted to see him leave. Contract talks seem to have came to a stand still with no updates but nothing has been confirmed even though the silence suggests otherwise.

The opposition on Sunday have beaten Everton once this season in the reverse fixture. That result finished 3-1 but now Bournemouth find themselves on the verge of relegation which if anything emphasises how poor Everton were near the start of the season. The game will be tough for Everton as Bournemouth still have a chance to save themselves even if they must rely on other results.

The Cherries are light on numbers at the back. Trio Chris Mepham, Charlie Daniels and Simon Francis are all definitely unavailable. Also, Adam Smith and Nathan Ake, recently linked with Manchester City, are also both doubts.

So, Everton have a huge chance to kill off any hope Bournemouth have by confirming their relegation with a win. It will be a sweet victory if it happens as Bournemouth have always been a thorn in The Toffees side in the past few seasons. But it may not be as sweet if it does indeed turn out to be Leighton Baines’ last ever game. What a player he has been for the famous old club.

Written by Elliot Thompson

READ MORE: Everton Football Club and Everton in the Community launch ‘Blue Family’

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