In what could be described as a ‘must win’ fixture for both sides, Everton take on Southampton at Goodison Park in a 3pm kick-off.
Everton boss Frank Lampard is coming under increasing pressure as the team will have one win in 13 if they fail to beat Southampton, but perhaps under even more pressure is the club hierarchy, with a post-game protest planned for the occasion regardless of result.
Many Evertonians are deeply unsatisfied with the direction of the club as the Blues look set to battle relegation for a second consecutive season. The visitors are also in their own bid to stay in the division, as they sit bottom of the league, two places below Everton.
The Saints shocked the masses with a midweek Carabao Cup victory over Manchester City, beating the Premier League champions 2-0. Their league form has been rather less flattering however, and they are winless in the league under new manager Nathan Jones.
The victory over City will no doubt have won the Welshman some good favour, but if he can’t start finding the points to lift his side out of the bottom three his stint on the South-Coast may come to a premature end.
The last meeting between the two sides was a 2-1 win for Lampard’s side at St Mary’s in October, with goals from Conor Coady and Dwight McNeil completing a comeback victory, Everton’s lone away win of the season so far.
Everton have won three of the last five outings between the two sides, and haven’t lost to The Saints at home since 2019, when the South-Coast side knocked Everton out of the Carabao Cup on penalties after a 1-1 stalemate.
The last time Southampton were victorious at Goodison Park in a league fixture was all the way back in 1997. The Toffees will hope to have Dominic Calvert-Lewin back available for the game, with the forward struggling to string together appearances amid injury and fitness issues.
The England international has one goal to his name this campaign, which came against the victory against Crystal Palace, Everton’s last competitive victory to date. In a somewhat shocking admission Lampard revealed that Alex Iwobi could be in contention to make a very quick return to action, after fears the midfielder could miss up to three weeks, it has since been revealed that the 26-year-old will be assessed in the morning prior to the match.
Moussa Djenepo will be amongst the key players the away side may look to as a difference maker after his brilliant mid-week goal, while striker Che Adams will look to add to his tally of four league goals. Captain James Ward-Prowse will remain a threat from set-pieces, and Lampard’s side will be smart to avoid conceding freekicks around the area if they want to keep him quiet.
Everton could rise from 18th to as high as 13th if they win, while three points could take Southampton level on points with 17th placed West Ham, although their goal difference is much poorer. Both clubs will be desperate to end their respective runs of awful poor form, while failure to win would bring additional unneeded pressure on either side.