In what could be a key battle at the wrong end of the Premier League table, 18th-placed Southampton host 17th-placed Everton.
Group EPL St. Marys Stadium, Southampton, England
Key Stat: Southampton have lost five of their last six matches in all competitions and drew the other.
Expert Verdict: Southampton were vastly improved as they nearly shocked Manchester City last weekend, but another defeat ultimately leaves them in trouble at the bottom of the table. An Everton win on Saturday and the Saints could be cut adrift, though neither are in convincing form and they could cancel each other out.
Cedric Soares is back in contention this weekend and Southampton – with the exception of suspended Ryan Bertrand – could have a fully-fit squad to choose from against Everton. Alex McCarthy returned in goal last weekend and could continue in place of Angus Gunn.
Danny Ings – Earned Southampton their most recent league point with his fourth goal of the season and scored twice against Everton last season too.
James Ward-Prowse – Another to have netted against Everton last season, the midfielder’s goal against Manchester City last weekend was his second in the league in this campaign.
Nathan Redmond – Playing in a more advanced role, his creativity is key for Southampton and these are the matches in which he needs to make an impact.
Southampton’s only respite in their last six games, of which they have lost five, was a 1-1 draw with Wolves. Danny Ings scored their goal. They then suffered their horror-show 9-0 home defeat to Leicester City, before a 3-1 loss at Manchester City in the Carabao Cup in which Jack Stephens’ goal was a mere consolation. They took the lead at City last weekend in the league, through James Ward-Prowse, but could not hold on and eventually lost 2-1.
Defenders:Yann Valery, Jan Bednarek, Jack Stephens, Jannik Vestergaard, Pierre-Emil Hjobjerg
Midfielders:James Ward-Prowse, Oriol Romeu, Stuart Armstrong
Forwards:Danny Ings, Nathan Redmond
After his horrific ankle injury last weekend, Andre Gomes faces a long road to recovery. Bernard and Jean-Philippe Gbamin. Fabian Delph will be assessed with a minor hamstring injury.
Richarlison – His attacking form last season was central to Everton’s success, so if the Brazilian can rediscover that touch, so might the Toffees.
Gylfi Sigurdsson – The same applies to Sigurdsson as to Richarlison – he scored and assisted so many last season, so recapturing that form will get Everton firing again.
Yerry Mina – The towering defender leads this Everton defence and, in a game such as this one, he needs to command the box and not give the goal-shy Saints a sniff.
Cenk Tosun’s late equaliser earned a richly-deserved point against Tottenham at the weekend in a 1-1 draw, but the match was understandably overshadowed by Andre Gomes’ injury. Mason Holgate and Richarlison scored in the Carabao Cup win against Watford that preceded it, but an own goal and Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s strike were not enough at Brighton in their previous league game – Everton conceded two late goals in a 3-2 defeat.
Defenders:Djibril Sidibe, Yerry Mina, Mason Holgate, Lucas Digne
Attacking Midfielders:Theo Walcott, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Alex Iwobi
Forwards:Richarlison, Dominic Calvert-Lewin
Both teams won their home matches in this fixture last season 2-1, while there was also a Carabao Cup meeting at Goodison Park, which Southampton won on penalties after a 1-1 draw. Theo Walcott and Richarlison scored Everton’s goals in the home league fixture, before Danny Ings pulled one back for the Saints. Walcott then cancelled out Ings’ goal in the Carabao Cup fixture, but was one of two Everton players to miss their penalty as the Saints won the shoot-out 4-3. James Ward-Prowse and a Lucas Digne own goal then put Southampton in front in the league fixture, with Gylfi Sigurdsson’s late strike not enough for the Toffees. Here are the results of their last five competitive matches:
Jan 19, 2019: Southampton 2-1 Everton
Oct 02, 2018: Everton 1-1 (p) Southampton
Aug 18, 2018: Everton 2-1 Southampton
May 05, 2018: Everton 1-1 Southampton
Nov 26, 2017: Southampton 4-1 Everton
Both Southampton and Everton are in very poor form, there is no hiding away from that. Southampton are set for another basement battle, and Everton are at risk of joining them if they do not pull away soon.
Both teams earned respectable results at the weekend – Southampton taking Manchester City all the way before losing 2-1 to the champions, while Everton were unlucky not to get more than a point against lacklustre Spurs.
Then again, it did continue both teams’ winless streaks – albeit the Toffees won in the Carabao Cup to alleviate a little pressure.
Everton’s issue has been the fact the likes of Richarlison and Gylfi Sigurdsson have not fired to the same extent as late season.
Both are more than capable of making a big difference in attack, and if they do click again then the Toffees will soon start to climb the table.
Southampton do not have such players to turn to. Danny Ings has scored a few this season but he and the Saints need more attacking quality around him.
Without that, it is hard to see them winning this game. That said, Everton remain unconvincing too, and this one could well end all square.
Southampton are 19/10 to beat Everton with Bet365, Betfair and 888sport, while an away win is 6/4 with Bet365, Betfair and Betway. The draw is tempting with neither in good form, however. You can get 49/20 from 888sport.
Both teams to score, with neither convincing defensively, has been set at 4/6 with Bet365, Ladbrokes, 10Bet and 888sport.
A draw and both teams to score will return 10/3 with Betfair and 888sport, meanwhile.
Danny Ings is a best price of 15/8 to score at any time for Southampton, as he did twice against Everton last season too.
Southampton are in poor form but they did look solid for large parts of their defeat to Manchester City. Maintain that discipline and they could get something from this game against similarly unconvincing Everton.