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Southampton 2 v 0 Everton
Barclays Premier League
Sunday, 25th October 2020 Kick-off 14:00
Saints V Everton The Preview
Sunday, 25th Oct 2020 09:00

A win against the Toffee's could move Saints into 5th place, albeit only for an hour or two, can the team stay tight, stay focused and perhaps more importantly stay lucky, this is a game that could well point the direction in which the season will be going.

Saints showed at Chelsea that going forward they can score goals against anyone, but at the back they also showed that they can concede goals like disorganised schoolboys, it makes for entertaining games, but it must be so frustrating for the players out there. let alone us the supporters.

I am sure that you have heard all of this before, the only reason for that is each game is predictable only for the fact that we will make errors at the back, the only unpredictable thing is whether we will get away with them or not.

I just have this sneaking suspicion though that Ralph will make a change in the centre of defence, I can see him bringing in Jack Stephens in place of Jan Bednarek, however this is just a wild guess, yes our defence wasn't great at Chelsea, but it had two clean sheets previously, so i'm just making this on the back of Ralph Hasenhuttl must know he has a problem and not having dealt with it by buying an organiser and a leader at the back his only answer has usually been change it all around.

Elsewhere the questions are who replaces Theo Walcott, I would think that would be Stuart Armstrong, although another option would be to switch James Ward Prowse to the right and bring in Ibrahima Diallo, otherwise I can't see much else changing.

Everton are the form side in the Premier League and this is the time when form sides start to show whether they have the stamina to go the whole season or whether they will fade a little.

This is a big test for Everton as they are hitting a few problems, a suspension for Richarlison, an injury to Rodiguez and many questions being asked about not only the decision making and form of goalkeeper Jordan Pickford but his mental state.

I'm sure many Everton fans will be up in arms that Pickford is criticised in this way, but we at Southampton know that his reckless challenges are nothing new, he almost cut Danny Ings in half two seasons ago at Goodison, someone who flies into a challenge with no thought for the safety of his opponent and not in control of his own actions is a danger to everyone, it is a worrying issue for football.

So will this be a situation that spurs Everton on or one that exposes them as a team who have flattered to deceive, at the moment the jury is out, but it cannot be denied that they have been impressive, at the heart of that has been James Rodriguez and he has perhaps been the difference between the lifeless Everton side we played at Goodison Park a few months ago in the restart and the one that has started this season.

The news is that Rodriguez has not trained for most of this week after picking up an injury in the game against Liverpool, will he be risked for this game ? or rested perhaps dropping to the bench.

Saints will be hoping that some complacency will set in, both in terms of Carlo Ancelotti's selections, but on the pitch itself.

Saints have nothing to fear going forward, they can expose the Everton defence , we can compete with them in midfield, but can we thwart them in our own penalty area ?

Everton of course arrive with the only unbeaten record in the Premier League so far, but they have to lose sometime and now is as good as any, Saints over the years have usually won games like this whilst losing those that they should win and our hope is that history repeats itself here.

For Saints it is also a moment in the season that will tell us where it will be heading, a win will see us up to 5th, although that has to change as the two teams below us Arsenal and Leicester meet and one or perhaps both will jump above us.

Defeat will see us still way above the bottom three, but by the time the weekend's fixtures are over we could be as low as 16th.

We can be sure that these days Saints teams attack, but what we don't know ahead of any game is whether we will get away with it at the back or will we collapse ?

Unfortunately I don't know that answer and neither does Ralph Hasenhuttl and he and we really should do by now !

Photo: Action Images

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