Sunday, April 18, 2021

Prediction: Everton vs Southampton

Verdict: Both teams to score

Best odds: 3/4

Bookmaker: 888sport

Everton are set to play host to Southampton in the 26th round of the 2020-21 Premier League season at Goodison Park on Monday. It will be an important fight for points for both teams, as one seek a place in Europe for next season while the other try to enter the final stages of the current campaign more relaxed about the prospect of relegation.

Everton

The Toffees booked a hugely important win over neighbours and league champions Liverpool last week at Anfield, where they hadn’t managed to walk away from with all three points for over two decades before. They are now in seventh place, with the same point tally (40) as Liverpool with a game in hand on the Reds. Further up, Chelsea are in fifth with 43, West Ham in fourth with 45, while Leicester City and Manchester United both have 49 in third and second, respectively. A place in the Europa League would be a good result for Carlo Ancelotti’s team, but at the moment, they may have their sights set on more than that.

Everton’s last six league matches saw them win twice, a 1-2 triumph away to Leeds United and the Merseyside Derby, draw 3-3 away to Manchester United, and lose three times at home: 0-2 to Newcastle, 1-2 to relegation battlers Fulham, and 1-3 to table toppers Manchester City.

Nonetheless, the Blues will be entering the Southampton clash on a high following the win over Liverpool, as well as the thrilling FA Cup fifth-round win over Tottenham Hotspur. They will play Manchester City in the quarterfinals on March 20th.

Team News

Ancelotti will have to make due without defender Yerry Mina who is sidelined with a calf problem and should be back next month. Mason Holgate and Michael Keane will probably pair up in the heart of defence again, with Seamus Coleman and Ben Godfrey covering their flanks, and Lucas Digne playing further up on the left.

Midfielder Jean-Philippe Gbamin is absent as well with an Achilles tendon rupture. The 25-year-old Ivorian hasn’t played at all this season, but he could also be back in March.

Southampton

Meanwhile, Southampton are currently in 14th place with 30 points, eight more than Fulham who top the relegation zone, and with 12 more rounds to go after this one, they will need all they can get to stay as comfortable as possible. Burnley (15th, 28 points), Brighton and Hove Albion (16th, 26) and Newcastle (17th, 25) represent the cushion between the Saints and the red line at the moment.

In their last six league matches, the Saints only earned a point as they drew 1-1 at home against Chelsea. Apart from that, they lost 0-1 at home against Aston Villa, suffered a 9-0 thrashing at the hands of Manchester United, a 3-2 defeat away to Newcastle, 1-2 at home against Wolves, and 3-0 away to Leeds United. The only ray of light that came their way was a 0-2 win over Wolves in the FA Cup, where they’ll face Championship side Bournemouth in the quarterfinals on March 20th.

Team News

Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl has a number of players missing at the moment. 

Forwards Theo Walcott (hamstring, date of return unknown) Michael Obafemi (match fitness, unknown) midfielders Oriol Romeu (ankle, unknown), Ibrahima Diallo (hamstring, unknown) and Will Smallbone (knee, unknown), as well as defender Kyle Walker-Peters (hamstring, unknown), have all been ruled out.

In the absence of Walker-Peters, Jan Bednarek will likely be shifted to right-back again with Mohammed Salisu taking his place at centre-back, alongside Jannik Vestergaard.

Conclusion

It should be an interesting contest with both teams having a lot to play for. Everton are certainly the favourites to win, though a surprise from the Saints cannot be ruled out. Liverpool loanee Takumi Minamino and former striker Danny Ings will certainly be motivated to avenge their parent/former club against the Blues and they are both on very good form, but so are Everton’s Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison.

Verdict: Both teams to score

Best odds: 3/4

Bookmaker: 888sport

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Veselin Trajkovic


Vesko is a football writer that likes to observe the game for what it is, focusing on teams, players and their roles, formations, tactics, rather than stats. He follows the English Premier League closely, Liverpool FC in particular. His articles have been published on seven different football blogs.

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