Bournemouth slip to Everton defeat but Premier League safety secured
Eddie Howe was mentioned as a potential successor to Everton's under-pressure Roberto Martinez but following Bournemouth's 2-1 defeat at Goodison Park on Saturday, those putting him forward may have to think again.
Howe has repeatedly confirmed his loyalty to the South Coast side and insists that he and his team, despite outperforming this season, still have lots to learn.
Signs of a season of maximum effort taking its toll were evident on Merseyside, as Howe's men slipped to a fifth defeat in six matches.
Despite the loss, results elsewhere confirmed what Cherries' fans have known since beating Swansea on March 12 -- their team are staying up.
But Howe's side desperately need to beat West Brom in their next match to regain momentum in terms of results as much as performance, ahead of their second Premier League season in 2016-17.
Player ratings (1-10; 10=best; players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating):
GK Artur Boruc, 6 -- The Pole made a good save from Ross Barkley in the first half. Might have done better for Tom Cleverley's opener but no chance with Leighton Baines' winner.
DF Simon Francis, 6 -- Lost Cleverley for his goal, but got forward as usual and combined well with Matt Ritchie. Went close with a header on 29 minutes but missed the target.
DF Tommy Elphick, 6 -- More solid than usual, as the club captain continued his reintegration into the team after a spell out with injury.
DF Steve Cook, 7 -- Played ball well out of defence and made a great tackle on Barkley early in the second half that prevented a goal.
DF Charlie Daniels, 6 -- Intercepted crosses well, but should have stopped Aaron Lennon's cross for Everton's winner.
MF Andrew Surman, 7 -- Usual steady role between midfield and defence, but knocked off the ball on a couple of occasions.
MF Harry Arter, 6 -- His drive has been missed due to a spell on the sidelines with injury. Not as influential, certainly in the opening 45 minutes, as he would have liked as Barkley stamped himself on the game.
MF Matt Ritchie, 7 -- Combined well with King early on and unlike some of his teammates, he was able to find the target. Had two early shots blocked and a second half header saved.
MF Josh King, 6 -- Playing behind Callum Wilson, there was the usual effort but needs to convert this into more goals.
MF Marc Pugh, 6 -- With Max Gradel still out with a calf problem, Pugh retained his place in the starting XI. Took his goal well but replaced on 68 minutes.
FW Callum Wilson, 7 -- Finally got a start in the fourth match of his comeback from injury after six months out. Made an immediate impact by dispossessing Matthew Pennington and crossing for Pugh to equalise. Put in good cross that Benik Afobe should have scored from.
MF Junior Stanislas, 6 -- Brought on shortly after Baines' 64th minute goal to provide more dynamism. Had a shot blocked but unable to repeat his two-goal performance from the 3-3 draw against Everton last November.
FW Benik Afobe, 5 -- Replaced King on 69 minutes. Shot blocked soon after coming on but continues to look unlikely to reclaim a place in the starting lineup after missing a header.
FW Lewis Grabban, N/R -- Dropped for Wilson after a brief run of starts, the former Norwich striker got on for the last 11 minutes.
Steve Menary is a freelance journalist who covers football for the likes of the BBC and World Soccer.