After a shock Capital One Cup exit at the hands of League 1 Sheffield United on Tuesday night, Ronald Koeman’s Southampton side will be looking to bounce back with a win against Everton at St Mary’s.
The defeat at Bramall Lane followed on from four straight Premier League defeats for Koeman’s side, with their last win coming against Leicester City at St Mary’s back in November.
Everton picked up a much-needed win on Monday night as they beat relegation strugglers Queens Park Rangers 3-1 at Goodison Park thanks to goals from Ross Barkley, Kevin Mirallas and Steven Naismith.
The win lifted Roberto Martinez’s side into the top ten of the Premier League. They have won just twice away from home so far this season, losing three and drawing three of their other matches on the road.
Ronald Koeman will be without the suspended Morgan Schneiderlin and Victor Wanyama on Saturday afternoon after the midfield duo both picked up their fifth yellow cards of the season against Sheffield United. Defender Florin Gardos will also miss the game through suspension.
Dušan Tadić is also set to miss out, while Koeman added both Steven Davis and Graziano Pellè are doubtful for the clash against Everton.
Robert Martinez has confirmed Kevin Mirallas will miss the game after injury against QPR, while Leon Osman is also a doubt. James McCarthy and Darron Gibson are 50/50 for the game at St Mary’s.
The Toffees were full of hope heading into the new campaign having qualified for the Europa League during Roberto Martinez’s first season in charge following David Moyes’ departure.
But the added pressure of Thursday night games in Europe has contributed to a slightly underwhelming start for the side from Goodison Park, who head into Saturday’s game sat tenth in the Barclays Premier League table.
Having progressed in Europe courtesy of finishing top of a group containing VfL Wolfsburg, FK Kransnodar and Lille, Martinez’s side will be looking to put points on the board domestically before the competition returns in February with a two-legged tie against Young Boys.
The win on Monday night against QPR was their first win in four league games, following a draw with Hull City and defeats to Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur away from home.
That was their third home win of the campaign, and just their fifth in all, moving them on to 21 points from their opening 16 games. Martinez’s side have scored 27 and conceded 24 so far this season.
The return of Ross Barkley, who scored in the win against the R’s on Monday, was a welcome boost for Martinez, after the England midfielder missed a large part of the opening months through injury.
Ronald Koeman: “The style of Everton is more different, it’s more football in my opinion, it doesn’t mean it’s easier but the way they [Burnley and Sheffield United] play in the last two games is maybe more difficult for us.
“Everton play football, the coach is a fan of good positive attacking football and I admire him because he’s doing a great job in England. They had a difficult start but I think in the last few weeks they have played better and had more confidence.”
Roberto Martinez: “I don’t assess Southampton in their current moment of form. I assess them over what they have done all season. They are a joy to watch. I am impressed and not impressed with the job Ronald Koeman has done. I know how good of a manager he is. But he has adapted quickly.
“The Christmas period is very important for us as a team and we are focused on being as good as we can be in every game. This period of 12 days is going to be vital in determining what we can achieve over the rest of the season.”
Jonathan Moss, who has been a Premier League referee since 2011, will take charge of Saturday’s game against Everton at St Mary’s. The 44 year-old has taken charge of two Saints fixtures already this season.
Both of those games, against Swansea City away from home and Stoke City at St Mary’s, ended in 1-0 wins for Ronald Koeman’s side.
In total, Moss has taken charge of 13 games so far this season, showing 45 yellow cards and six reds, including one to Wilfried Bony when Saints visited Swansea’s Liberty Stadium. His last game was Chelsea’s Capital One Cup success against Derby County in midweek, as José Mourinho’s side won 3-1.
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