Sunday 27th November 16.30
16.30 Southampton v Everton
It’s worth noting from the off that Southampton have an excellent home record, losing just one of their last BPL home games. Having said all that, they’ve managed to secure just one point from the last six available there, albeit by way of that one loss to Chelsea and a creditable 0-0 against Liverpool last weekend. Their last league win was nearly a month ago now and they are in danger of undoing a lot of their good work up to that point.
Never judge a book by its cover
Everton sit in 7th, five points and four places ahead of their hosts and level on points with Manchester United. On the face of it, they would appear to be the stronger of the two and yet that would be a misconception. A loss to Norwich in the League Cup two months ago put an end, not only to their five game winning run but also to the momentum they had created. In their eight league matches since, they won just once and lost four. The drop in form has been remarkable.
Point to prove
Everyone is losing to Chelsea these days but Everton’s 5-0 loss stood out – they were utterly pulverized. And for reasons that are not altogether clear, Ronald Koeman decided to start that game with a back 3 to match Chelsea’s defensive unit. He had used that tactic without much success in the first match of the season so to resurrect it against the league’s form team seemed the mis-step of a novice. Koeman is well regarded as a coach but this woeful run of form isn’t a good luck and he needs to show his club and supporters what they’re paying for.
This is a match between two teams who tend to share the same ecosystem and weight class. They will come into this tie evenly matched but we expect that it will be Southampton who get the upper hand. They like to play it through the middle and so will have to contend with Everton’s Idris Gueye, which is no mean feat but the Saints are a smart team and possess the mental acuity to figure out a way past him. And although Charlie Austin isn’t in the same league as Romelu Lukakau, Southampton’s pairing at centre-back is stronger than Everton’s.
The market makes Southampton favourites with Everton at about 5/2 or thereabouts to take all three points. For the reasons outlined above, we reckon it’s the home side who will emerge victorious and the best price there comes from BoyleSports at 6/5.