Captain Adam Lallana faces a late fitness test on a troublesome knee injury. Top scorer Rickie Lambert started on the bench against Chelsea but could return, while new signing Vegard Forren is eligible for selection after completing his signing from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Molde. Southampton are in good form in the league, only losing 2 of their last 12 matches and are unbeaten in their last 5, including coming from 2 goals down to snatch a point at Stamford Bridge in midweek. New manager Mauricio Pochettino arrives in a baptism of fire after Southampton sacked popular manager Nigel Adkins on Friday.
Kevin Mirallas is in contention for a place on the bench after a long-term absence with a knee problem. Johnny Heitinga is also back in the squad after missing Everton’s last 2 games. Manager David Moyes will be happy to have Steven Pienaar for selection, as the South African midfielder retired from international football shortly before the Africa Cup of Nations. Everton have only lost 1 of their last 6 matches in the Premier League and generally travel well, and are looking to close the gap on 4th place Tottenham to 1 point if they win tonight.
- Rickie Lambert – Southampton’s top scorer this season with 10 goals, double that of his 2 nearest competitors (the 2 players below). Leads the line well, holds the ball up and brings the midfielders around him into play. Always a major threat peeling off to the back post and great in the air.
- Jason Puncheon – Loves to dribble and do the unpredictable. Always eager to get shots in on goal, and has scored a few crucial strikes so far this season.
- Gaston Ramirez – Oozes class playing in behind the striker, this calm South American has the weaponry to create and score chances at will when he’s on his game.
- Leighton Baines – An inspirational figure in Everton’s season. Not only is he solid defensively but bursts forward down the left to great effect, is often the main source of attack for the Toffees.
- Phil Jagielka – An ever-present in David Moyes’ line up, is as reliable as they come in the Premier League. Wears his heart on his sleeve and defends with guts and leadership, will have to be on form to keep Southampton’s attack quiet.
- Marouane Fellaini – Everton’s top scorer with 9 goals this season, this has been his most effective season so far. Set the tone with a dominant display against Manchester United on the opening day and hasn’t looked back since.
LINE UPS (probable):
Southampton (4-2-3-1): Boruc, Clyne, Forren, Fonte, Shaw, Schneiderlin, Cork, Lallana, Ramirez, Puncheon, Lambert.
Everton (4-4-1-1): Howard, Hibbert, Jagielka, Distin, Baines, Anichebe, Neville, Osman, Pienaar, Fellaini, Jelavic.
Tough one to predict, Southampton have been in great form of late, mixing an attractive playing style with a new-found grit in order to get some impressive results. Everton are always a tough team to beat and are good away from home, but usually concede goals too. An entertaining score draw here. 2-2
Where To Watch Online: Southampton vs. Everton969552