Southampton welcome Everton to St Mary’s Stadium in this weekend’s opening Super Sunday match as the Toffees look to build a gap at the top of the Premier League table.
Southampton can climb into the top half of the table with victory whilst Everton will be looking to extend their gap at the top with a win.
Southampton are set to have Stuart Armstrong available after the Scottish midfielder resumed training this week following a period of self-isolation after testing positive for Coronavirus whilst on international duty earlier this month.
Yan Valery is a doubt after suffering a knock but could be handed a late fitness test to determine whether he is fit enough for the bench at a minimum or not.
Theo Walcott is ineligible to face his parent club after joining on loan earlier this month and joins Mohamed Salisu (fitness), Will Smallbone (Quadriceps) and Moussa Djenepo (hamstring) on sidelines.
Everton will be without Richarlison who begins the first of a three match ban after his red card in the Merseyside derby for a late tackle on Liverpool’s Thiago Alcantara.
James Rodriguez (hematoma) and Seamus Coleman (hamstring) are ruled out and join Jonjo Kenny (ankle), Mason Holgate (toe), Jarrad Branthwaite (ankle), Jean-Phillipe Gbamin (Achilles) and Cenk Tosun (knee) on sidelines.
- Southampton have won just one of last five league meetings against Everton (W1, D2, L2).
- Everton have won just two of their last five trips to St Mary’s Stadium (W2, L3).
- Each of last two meetings in Southampton have finished 2-1 with both teams winning once each across those two matches.
- No Southampton player has been fouled more times this season than Moussa Djenepo and Oriol Romeu, who have both been fouled in four and five appearances respectively.
- Dominic Calvert-Lewin has converted 12 of his 20 shots in five league appearances onto target for Everton this season.
Southampton have managed to find form in recent weeks even if their defending is still inconsistent at times and their superb fightback to draw 3-3 at Chelsea last weekend underlines just how much spirit is in this squad when come up against the big guns, although they have to be wary here of Calvert-Lewin particularly during set pieces if they’re to stand any chance at winning.
Everton meanwhile produced an admirable performance to fight back twice to snatch a draw against Liverpool which stands them in good stead for this match, although I expect them to be doing most of the attacking if the Saints’ recent tactical performances against top teams are anything to go by.
This could therefore be a decent game with both teams going for it but given Everton’s form and quality during set pieces, I am backing them to have the edge here in what will be another tough encounter.
Prediction: Southampton 1-2 Everton
Result: Southampton 2-0 Everton