Premier League action returns to Goodison Park on Saturday afternoon as Everton take on Southampton.
The Blues host the Saints at Liverpool 4 as new boss Marco Silva gets to make his competitive Goodison Park bow. The Portuguese boss has already managed his new side at home, a pre-season defeat to Valencia, but will be eager pick up three points in the Premier League.
Everton are pivoting, again, to a different system and a different style of football from the 41-year-olds predecessor and that, coupled with a number of deadline day signings, will take some time to fully take ahold.
Silva’s men could, and probably should, have taken all three points from their opening day game away to Wolves but will be buoyed by how spirited his side were despite playing 50-plus minutes with ten men.
His side will look to build on their opening day point away at Molineux but Mark Hughes’ Saints represent a tricky opposition that aren’t to be underestimated after a summer of clever signings.
The Saints staved off relegation at the end of last season under Hughes and won’t want to find themselves in that predicament against this term.
The two sides last met during the Saints’ vital run against relegation and under much different circumstances.
Everton fans were preparing for the final home game of the campaign and all their focus was making their voices heard against former manager Sam Allardyce.
The former Bolton Wanderers boss, who wasn’t the most popular man to ever adorn the Goodison touchline, looked to be on his way out following a short-term stint at the club but the home fans were desperate to make sure he wouldn’t be in charge for the following campaign.
Hughes’ side took the lead just before the hour mark after Nathan Redmond headed home, unmarked at the far post, from Cedric Soares’ deep cross from the opposite flank.
The Saints, on the verge of securing a vital victory, were heartbroken with the final kick of the game as Tom Davies’ strike from the edge of the Gwladys Street 18-yard box deflected off Wesley Hoedt and past a beaten Alex McCarthy.
It was a cruel blow for the visitors who were in desperate need of the three points but a deserved strike for the hosts who had been denied numerous times by the eye-catching McCarthy.
A look at: Southampton
After one game of the Premier League season, Southampton sit 12th in the table.
In their opening fixture, they played out a stalemate 0-0 draw at home to Burnley - in a game for the goalkeepers.
Alex McCarthy, who has certainly taken the number one gloves from Fraser Forster, made a number a handful of crucial saves to keep the Saints from suffering an opening game defeat.
Summer signings Danny Ings and Mohamed Elyounoussi were second-half substitutes in last Sunday’s game and will be pushing to start at Goodison Park.
Ings, a versatile forward, presents another option for Hughes in his quest to find a forward who can be relied on each week for goals.
Charlie Austin and Manolo Gabbiadini are likely to be ahead of the former Liverpool man to start games for the opening few weeks of the new campaign but a potential lack of goals could see Ings propel himself into that starting spot.
Team News and Predicted XI’s
With captain Phil Jagielka suspended, Mason Holgate or new loan signing Kurt Zouma is expected to fill in. Deadline Day signing Yerry Mina only arrived from Barcelona on Thursday morning and will need to undergo fitness work before he is ready.
Mina’s fellow Deadline Day signing from Barcelona Andre Gomes is sidelined for at least another fortnight with a hamstring injury.
The Blues will sweat on the fitness of Richarlison after he was subbed last weekend through injury. The Brazilian winger is expected to be fit after initially fearing a more severe knock than cramp.
His compatriot, Bernard, is expected to start from the bench.
For the visiting Saints, summer signing Stuart Armstrong departed Sunday’s draw with Burnley with an injury but Hughes was quick to dismiss fears about a long-term injury.
The Scottish international is expected to make the trip to Merseyside but start the game from the bench.
Everton: Pickford, Coleman, Baines, Keane, Holgate, Schneiderlin, Gueye, Sigurdsson, Richarlison, Walcott, Tosun
Southampton: McCarthy, Stephens, Cedric, Vestegaard, Hoedt, Roemu, Lemina, Hojbjerg, Bertrand, Redmond, Austin
Match Day Stats
- Southampton have not won at Goodison since November 1997. In the 13 games since, the Saints have suffered defeat nine times.
- Everton have not won on August 18th since 2001. Walter Smith’s side triumphed over Charlton Athletic at The Valley. Their last game on this Saturday’s date was 1-0 defeat away at Reading in 2007.
- The Blues have not lost their opening home game of the season since the 2011/12 campaign - a 1-0 defeat to newly-promoted QPR.