One of the oddest stories from last weekend was how Southampton manager Ronald Koeman was ruled out of their clash with Newcastle due to an injured hamstring, leaving his brother Erwin to take over.
Southampton got out to a positive start against Newcastle, with Graziano Pellè giving the Saints a lead after 24 minutes. But then Newcastle scored on either side of half-time before Shane Long saved a point on 79 minutes.
Everton also earned a 2-2 draw in their first game of the season, dropping two points to Watford. As a result, this Saturday’s encounter between the Saints and Toffees is even more important, with both sides eager to get their first win. This is definitely the most exciting match during Saturday’s Premier League schedule.
Both sides will line up with a 4-2-3-1 promotion. Out of the two sides, though, it is Southampton that plays with greater caution. Koeman drills his team to play securely at the back and to seize upon counter-attacking opportunities. Against a potentially dangerous side like Everton, he won’t take any risks.
Roberto Martínez likes his team to display attractive passing and to control possession. But the expense of that strategy is that his team conceded heavily last season. Although he will feel confident playing Southampton, he should be concerned by the challenge ahead of him.
Southampton have considerable pace in Sadio Mané and Dušan Tadić. They are likely to target Everton’s left flank, where fullback Leighton Banes is currently absent due to an ankle injury. At a time when Everton are working John Stones back into the line-up, Everton are much more vulnerable than Southampton.
The last time these two sides met at St Mary’s, Southampton cruised to a 3-0 victory. But after losing 1-0 in their second league encounter, the score-line is likely to be closer than the 3-0 result.
Tip one: Over 2.5 goals @ 2.15 with Betfair
Tip two: Southampton to win @ 1.90 with Betfair
Everton’s leaky defence makes goals a distinct possibility for this encounter, but Southampton have what it takes to claim the points.