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Football News: Everton v Southampton Preview 5 May 2018

Everton v Southampton Preview 5 May 2018
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This evening's match at Goodison Park sees Sam Allardyce looking to 'win the hearts and minds' of the underwhelmed Everton supporters while Southampton need as many points as they can get from every fixture remaining to keep alive hopes of survival.

Everton sit comfortably in 8th spot in the Premier League with Leicester City already looking as though the beach is calling sitting 4 points behind them and Burnley proudly 6 points ahead. So 8th will likely be where they finish. Under Allardyce, they are something of anomaly. Their form suggests that they're in a good place at the moment, so why would any fans be disgruntled?

A quick look at the stats tells you why. Everton average less than 50% of possession home and away and only average 10 shots per game at home where they are at their most attacking. But they are not really a counter attacking side. Theo Walcott has brought some pace to their attack but you don't really see Everton happily inviting teams on to then break with pace and ruthless efficiency. Their recent wins have seem them beat Newcastle at home and Huddersfield away. Both of those teams will feel as though they've been mugged, playing much better, creating more chances and taking more shots than Everton. The Toffees were perhaps the beneficiaries of poor finishing from their opponents than their own performance.

Against the better teams in the league, or those with attackers in form, this Everton side, with little to play for, appear to be there for the taking. Saints certainly seem to be able to boast forwards in form as they have scored 2 goals in 3 of their last 4 games in the Premier League. The one exception was the Leicester game where the Saints appeared to go back into their shells after the 2-3 loss to Chelsea and were playing not to lose rather than win. A chance missed perhaps and hopefully, with games now at a low ebb, not a performance that will be repeated today.

They simply cannot afford to. Their usual achilles heel is a defence that can wobble a little when put under pressure, although they did well as a unit to keep Bournemouth at arms length last time out when they threw the kitchen sink at them in the final 15 minutes of that game. Everton have not demonstrated the ability to put oppositions under spells of sustained pressure when behind and their goal difference remains poor despite a steady creep up the table. Free-scoring they are not.

It is certainly the case that the game means far more to Southampton than Everton. Another three points is likely to see them pull level on points with Huddersfield and even jump above them on goal difference. The psychological effect on both teams could prove decisive in the final fixtures. More importantly, a win would see the Saints really feel momentum building going into a crunch game at Swansea City on Tuesday evening. A draw would be of some use, but would allow the other teams around them more breathing space and ensure the Swansea match becomes a high pressure must win game.

So the question seems to be, will Saints take the game to Everton and apply the same level of fight and attacking football that has seen hope of survival return? If so, they will have every chance of beating an underwhelming Everton side whose fans have lost faith in their manager and cannot wait for this season to end with hope of a fresh face coming in to reinvigorate the side in the summer.

Written by figodasilva May 05 2018 11:22:31