Everton vs Southampton
Venue: Goodison Park
Referee: Lee Mason
Everton host Southampton in the second game of the season at Goodison Park, with both sides determined to get three points on the board following underwhelming starts with a point a piece last time out against Wolves and Burnley respectively.
A win for either side in this match-up today has the potential to write the story for the season. Everton, who have had a rough run in in pre-season games, will look to secure three points from a shaky Southampton side as they aim towards an elusive Europa League qualification.
Three points would also be crucial for the Saints as after scraping to avoid the drop last year, their main agenda will be to firmly plant their feet in the Premier League again; what better way to do that than by securing three points away from home.
Everton can feel hard done by with the decision to give Phil Jagielka a red card for a challenge, which in mine and many others opinions, was barely even a foul, never mind a red card. Therefore Everton will be without Jagielka in the starting lineup. Richarlison was also in doubt after picking up a small knock in their 2-2 draw with Wolves.
However, it proved to be a minor injury as Marco Silva deemed him fit to play against the southern side. He has seemed to be an excellent signing so far, as when at Watford he managed zero goals in 58 attempts towards the end of his tenure at Vicarage Road, though whilst at Everton he has a promising two from two. A Marco Silva masterclass?
After the suspension of Phil Jagielka, Silva now has the issue of choosing a centre back, and with Yerry Mina and Kurt Zouma arriving in training this week, this gives the Everton manager plenty of options to choose from.
Southampton’s squad is currently at full strength which should be used to full advantage whilst still possible; having players such as Charlie Austin and Danny Ings in your team almost certifies that an injury will happen at some point throughout the season.
However, this just means that Mark Hughes should utilise the options he has while he still has them at his disposal. Steven Davis has returned from his season ending injury but has yet to make an appearance for the first team after rumours interest from Rangers in bringing the Northern Irish man back to the Ibrox.
All four new signings in Vestergaard, Elyounoussi, Armstrong and Ings all impressed in their 0-0 draw to Burnley, which is positive for the manager and fans to see new signings embedding into the squad and displaying a promising work ethic.
Predicted Starting XI’s
Everton (4-2-3-1): Pickford; Coleman, Keane, Holgate, Baines; Gueye, Scheiderlin, Walcott, Sigurdsson, Richarlison; Tosun.
Southampton (3-4-3): McCarthy; Stephens, Vestergaard, Hoedt; Cedric, Romeo, Lemina, Bertrand; Armstrong, Redmond, Austin.
Prediction: Everton 3-1 Southampton
With the strength and quality in Everton’s starting line-up I believe that the Saints will really struggle to get in behind their opponents. With Richarlison’s confidence through the roof I believe that he could have a similar impact on this game as he did against Wolves.