The lunchtime kick off on Saturday is an intriguing one as over-achieving Southampton play under-achieving Everton. Both these sides ended with credible 2-2 draws last weekend, although it's The Toffees who will have been most disappointed, having failed to beat newly promoted Watford.
Ronald Koeman has yet another rebuilding job to do! His squad has been largely decimated once again in the transfer window with midfield lynchpin Morgan Schneiderlin leaving for Man United and Nathniel Clyne also heading for the North West. He seems have recruited well, but time will tell whether his additions can be as successful as last season. Cedric Soares appeared to slot in comfortably at right back but it was one of the old guard who had to rescue a point for the Saints in the North East. Shane Long equalised and another goal for Graziano Pelle gave the Dutchman plenty of postivies to take from their performance.
Meanwhile, Roberto Martinez came in for criticism once again as his side failed to beat newly promoted Watford. They were twice behind in the match and a terrific strike from Ross Barkley stopped them from suffering an opening day embarrassment. There is something not quite right about the Toffees and they can't seem to be able to find the fluency to their play. Lukaku looks isolated at times as they have plenty of possession, but aren't able to do much with it.
This ocould be an interesting battle and the first thing that strikes you about this fixture is that it's likely to contain goals. But that's not neccessarily been the case when these teams have previously met. Both teams have scores in only 1 of the last 6 meetings but a few of them have contained 3 goals. Therefore it seems logical to go over 2.5 goals in this one.
Southampton have had the monopoly on this fixture, particularly when they've met at St Marys. They're unbeaten here to the Merseysiders since 2002 and won the last two home meetings 2-0 and 3-0 and I fancy them to do so again. Martinez seems to be struggling to find his best starting 11 and needs to get Lukaku scoring again. I fancy Southampton to leave with the points.
Jay Rodriguez returning is a huge boost to Koeman and the Southampton fans will be delighted to see this bundle of energy return to the team after suffering a nasty injury that sidelined him for a while. He is gradually getting back to full fitness and is bound to carry on where he left off. He is natural goalscorer and Southampton paid a large chunk of money for him. I think he is worth a bet to net against Everton.
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