Bournemouth-Everton Preview

The Everton faithful's patience with manager Roberto Martinez appears to have run out after a last-gasp FA Cup semifinal defeat to Manchester United extended the side's winless run to seven games.

The Toffees (9-14-11) host Bournemouth on Saturday, seeking a first league win since defeating Aston Villa 3-1 on March 1, having drawn three and lost four of their last seven across all competitions.

Hot on the heels of a 4-0 hammering at the hands of nearest rivals Liverpool in their last Premier League outing, Martinez's men were booed off the Wembley pitch after an abject first half against United at Wembley last Saturday.

Everton, though, rallied though Chris Smalling's own goal to cancel out Marouane Fellaini's first-half opener but Anthony Martial's 93rd-minute winner was exactly the twist in the tale the beleaguered Martinez didn't need.

He also wasn't helped by Romelu Lukaku being denied from the spot by David De Gea in the second half before Smalling's own goal.

With little at stake in the Merseyside club's remaining four matches - though desperate to reverse a terrible home form in which Everton have claimed just 17 points from as many home matches - Martinez still anticipates top performances from his players as they see out the season, and possibly his tenure.

"Any player that represents Everton has to reach the level we showed in the second half at Wembley," Martinez said in his pre-match press conference. "It's no good going through the motions - we need to show the intensity, drive and quality in the next four games.

"Clearly, every point and every position in the table matters. And, on top of that, our standards as a team our extremely important to us."

Martinez confirmed Friday that United States international and goalkeeper Tim Howard, who is returning stateside to play for Colorado of Major League Soccer at season's end, will start the final two matches at Goodison Park.

Everton and Bournemouth are part of a four-team logjam with Watford and West Bromwich Albion on 41 points, with the Toffees best among them in 11th and the Cherries 14th due to goal difference.

While that represents an unacceptable state of affairs for Everton, it symbolises a job well done for the South Coast club, who have all but secured a second successive top-flight campaign.

The work of Cherries manager Eddie Howe places him among those United Kingdom bookmakers have at short odds to replace Martinez, trailing former incumbent David Moyes and outgoing Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini.

Intriguingly enough, Howe was asked directly about his future this week in 'The Big Interview with Graham Hunter' and gave a response that will likely hearten Cherries fans.

"I don't really have any grand plan, I really don't," said Howe. "This is just me. I'm doing my best today.

"I don't have a vision to say 'right that's what I want to do, I want to achieve this.' I never have done from the minute I set foot on this journey in management. I will take the future as is comes."

Howe has hit work cut out for the run-in as the Cherries go into Saturday's encounter on the back of a 4-1 home defeat to Chelsea, their fourth loss in five league matches. Tyrone Mings (knee) is out for the Cherries, while Harry Arter (Achilles), Max Gradel (thigh) and Adam Smith (hernia) are rated doubtful.

Martinez will be without Gareth Barry (groin) and defenders Phil Jagielka and Seamus Coleman (both hamstring), while Funes Mori serves the second of his three-game suspension after his red card against Liverpool.

The reverse fixture is somewhat symbolic of Everton's season. Up two goals and flying at half time through goals by Funes Mori and Lukaku, Bournemouth countered with goals from Adam Smith and Junior Stanislas in the last 10 minutes.

Ross Barkley's 95th-minute goal triggered a pitch invasion by the jubilant Toffees, who had barely cleared the sideline before Stanislas equalised again three minutes later.

The Toffees also bounced Bournemouth from the FA Cup, winning 2-0 in the round of 16 at Vitality Stadium.

In the side's other meeting this season, Barkley and Lukaku scored as Everton defeated the Cherries 2-0 in the FA Cup at the Vitality Stadium.

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