Southampton vs Everton Preview: Blues travel south for Koeman's return

Southampton vs Everton Preview: Blues travel south for Koeman's return

A preview of Everton’s trip to St Mary's to face Southampton.

Connor Bennett

Everton travel to St Mary’s to take on Ronald Koeman’s old side, Southampton. The Blues are in need of a win, especially after they failed to take advantage of their fixture against Swansea City last time out. 

The draw with Swansea was a poor result, in which the Blues reverted to type. Too many sideways passes and a lack of urgency for the majority of the afternoon saw Koeman’s side barely come away from the game with a point. 

Improvements still needed for Everton

Ronald Koeman was never going to bring overnight change to Goodison Park, it was always going to be gradual. The Blues started well coming out of the blocks but have hit a bit of lull in recent weeks. 

The 5-0 thrashing at the hands of Chelsea should have been a wake-up call and a springboard for Everton to learn from their mistakes but whatever the Blues did in training following the game didn’t have the desired effect. 

Their first half performance against Swansea was as flat as it’s been at Goodison Park for some time. Koeman’s side were deservedly booed off and started the second period well. Unable to find their scoring touch until late in the game, Everton showed that with intensity and bit more guile, they can compete higher up the table.

Pressing the opposition has been a key point for Koeman since his arrival in the summer and will need to be in full effect this weekend if the Blues want to come away from St Mary's with any sort of result.

A look at the opposition - Southampton

The Saints have been going well in the Premier League under Claude Puel and find themselves sitting 11th in the Premier League table. Somewhat of an unknown to many football fans, Puel has had to deal with another summer of upheaval at St Mary’s. 

He was able to keep ahold of key men like Fraser Forster, Nathan Redmond and Virgil Van Dijk but are yet to hit their annual run of form. 

Coming off a lose in the Europa League during midweek, Southampton should be hungry for three points in this game and a team Everton cannot afford to take lightly. 

Danger man: Nathan Redmond. The former Everton target is adapting to a new role under new Puel at St Mary's and is an ever-present danger for the Saints. His ability to drift from the middle into the middle of play is something the Everton backline will have to be ready for.

Whether Redmond starts out wide or in the hole behind the striker, he will be the man who takes up the majority of the Blues defensive attention. 

Matchday Stats

1. Everton have won just one of their last seven Premier League games, after winning four of the first five.

2. Southampton have only lost once in their last 11 home fixtures in the league, 6 wins and 4 draws.

3. Romelu Lukaku has failed to score in 13 of his last 17 top-flight appearances away from home.

Injury report

Everton, bar Muhammed Besic and Matthew Pennington, have a fully fit squad to choose from. Gareth Barry returns from his one-game suspension and should immediately return to partner Idrissa Gana Gueye in midfield.

Southampton will hand a late fitness test to Jose Fonte as he continues his return from a foot injury. Dusan Tadic is likely to miss out with a broken nose. 

The Saints are also likely to be without full-back Matt Targett as he battles a hamstring injury.