Southampton v Everton Preview: Woeful form meets as Saints host Toffees

Both Southampton and Everton have endured less than ideal starts to the Premier League campaign with the two clubs lingering in the bottom half.

Southampton v Everton Preview: Woeful form meets as Saints host Toffees
(Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Southampton, a team who have suffered a difficult November, end the month with a trip to Premier League leaders Manchester City, but a home fixture with Everton lies beforehand and the visitors are in just as much trouble as the Saints going into the game. 

Following the international break a fortnight ago, the top-flight returned to action as the Toffees visited Selhurst Park in hope of overcoming a weak Crystal Palace team, although the Merseyside outfit could only play out a 2-2 draw - coming from behind twice. 

Meanwhile, Mauricio Pellegrino's squad travelled to the north west themselves in an attempt to defeat a fearful attacking Liverpool but Mohamed Salah's double saw the Saints return to the south coast empty-handed. 

Going into the game between Southampton and Everton, the entertainers currently lie four points above the drop in 14th - struggling to get the ball into the back of the net - and the Toffees sit just a point behind their opponents this weekend on twelve - shipping 24 goals this term so far, only West Ham United have conceded more. 

Toffees without in-form striker

Pellegrino has a number of midfield absentees ahead of the fixture as Spaniard Oriol Romeu misses out having picked up his fifth yellow of the campaign in the away trip at Liverpool last time out. Mario Lemina is reportedly on the mend following an ankle injury but the visit of Everton may be just too early for the Gabon international. 

The only other concern for the Saints is defender Jérémy Pied who remains sidelined. 

As for Everton, caretaker boss Davis Unsworth will be without attacker Oumar Niasse, whose netted nine goals in all competitions this year, after the striker was given a two-match ban for being found guilty of diving during the club's clash against Crystal Palace. Injured midfield duo Ross Barkley and James McCarthy are also a couple of weeks away from returning to action. 

There has been positives news in their camp, however, with Yannick Bolasie back in training after a near twelve-month lay-off. Goalkeeper Jordan Pickford is likely to return between the posts after being rested for their midweek Europa League defeat to Atalanta


Saints underdogs prior to kick-off?

Judging by form, neither side are going into this game with high confidence. Southampton's lacklustre goal scoring capability is met by the leaky defence of Everton, so a draw seems a highly likely outcome at this moment in time. 

However, the head-to-head record suggests otherwise as the Toffees currently lead the way in that department. Sunday's hosts have 28 triumphs to their tally but the opposition pride themselves with 47 victories tallied up and 21 have ended with the spoils shared. 

The last meeting between the Saints and Everton was ten months ago at Goodison Park when three goals in the last twenty minutes from Enner Valencia, Leighton Baines and Romelu Lukaku saw the home team win 3-0. 

Meanwhile, these two clubs last met at St. Mary's a year ago almost to the day when an early goal in the first minute from Charlie Austin was enough for the Saints to claim all three points that afternoon, a day when youngster Josh Sims made his professional debut for Southampton.