As Premier League teams enter a period that is traditionally very important to their ambitions and goals, Goodison Park will be the stage for a very interesting clash between Everton and Southampton this Saturday, April 4.
Everton have lost their last two league games against Southampton with an aggregate of 5-0.
It certainly comes as a surprise to see that Everton is, at this point of the season, closer to the relegation zone than it is to the European spots, but that’s the harsh reality of the Premier League. Despite having a very interesting group of players and a young and ambitious manager, the Toffees sit 13th in the table and have never reached a level of consistency and quality that would allow them to be in contention for the top 6 and now, with just 8 games remaining and following elimination from the Europa League, all they have to play for is respect and the opportunity to finish the season on a high note. At Goodison Park so far this season, Everton lost only 3 games but have been able to win just 4 and none against teams in the top 10 of the table. Southampton, a team with the 5th best record in the league playing on the road and a side that has more points away from home (23) than Everton has at home (19) will certainly be a very difficult test for the Toffees.
The Saints have not only been playing great football throughout the season but they are also legitimately in contention for a place among Europe’s elite football teams, as they sit 6th in the table, one point behind Liverpool and six points behind Manchester United. Southampton have lost only one of their last six away games in the Premier League and are making it very hard for opponents to score goals, as they hold the record so far for the least number of goals allowed (21) in the league. With a record of 2 draws and 7 losses in their last 9 league games at Goodison Park, this is definitely not the Saints’ favorite venue to play in, but given their recent performances and the fact that they still have Champions League hopes, Koeman and his players should be very confident for this match-up.
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These two sides met earlier in the season for the Premier League and the Saints grabbed a solid and convincing 3-0 win over the Toffees. Against a team that plays extremely well on the road, it will be crucial for Everton to control the midfield area and pay close attention to Southampton’s counterattack. Even though the Saints don’t have a powerful offense and their most prolific scorer, Graziano Pelle (8 goals), hasn’t found the back of the net in his last 13 games, Everton’s defense hasn’t been as good and solid as in previous years. As things stand, Champions League qualification will certainly be difficult to reach for Southampton, but a spot in the Europa League is pretty much on their hands, and a win in this game would be a huge step towards reaching that objective. Alongside Sunderland, the Toffees have the most draws in the Premier League at home (7) and that will probably be the result at the end of this match-up against Southampton.
Our Prediction: Draw
BetOnline Odds: 210