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Thursday, February 22, 2024

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Premier League: Southampton vs Everton; ‘He is going to play on Sunday’

Still top of the league. Still unbeaten. Premier League’s top goal scorer is their striker. Yes, all of that is about Everton. 

Ancelotti’s Toffees are still going strong in this bizarre start to a Premier League season and will be hoping that they can extend their lead at the top of the pile when they travel to St Mary’s stadium to come up against Southampton.

It was not a pretty performance last weekend against enemies Liverpool and that’s ignoring the two bad challenges which have had plenty of media coverage. 

Yet Everton dug in deep and kept their heads up high when they fell behind and came back on two occasions. 

The change in mentality was visibly on show as Everton still believed throughput the whole 90 minutes and now their supporters will be believing all sorts of things are possible for this campaign. 

The two dangerous tackles were not great though and unfortunately will have implications for the next few games.  

Firstly, Richarlison’s straight red card will see him suspended for the next three games which may see Everton struggle for pace on the wings potentially disrupting their fluidity in attacking play.  

Also, Pickford’s challenge which obviously led to Van Dijk’s injury has reportedly left him feeling down which could influence his performance even though he has not exactly been in great form anyway. 

In his press conference regarding Jordan Pickford Carlo Ancelotti said: “I don’t think there’s a consideration to take him out. He is going to play on Sunday.” 

The England number one was lucky last weekend that his side did not lose another Derby in the last minute of the game as it would have been his fault yet again just like in 2018. 

So, with Ancelotti confirming he will be starting again means Evertonians will still not see what new keeper Robin Olsen has to offer who must be thinking an opportunity will come his way soon. 

As well as confirming Pickford to start the Italian also confirmed in his press conference that new signing Ben Godfrey would get his full debut after coming on at right-back last weekend. 

Ancelotti said: “I think Ben played a good game. It was not his usual position, but after the first 15 minutes where he had difficulty the second half was really better.  

“He played against one of the best wingers in the world in Mane, so it wasn’t an easy game.” 

Godfrey will be starting at right-back again due to Seamus Coleman’s absence. 

It will be a tough challenge for Everton’s backline against a Southampton team who have a free scoring Danny Ings who has taken his sensational form from last season into this one and will be hoping to score against Everton yet again. 

However, another Englishman has outdone him for form so far and that is of course Everton’s frontman Dominic Calvert-Lewin who just cannot stop scoring. 

He will be glad that James Rodriguez is fit enough to play and provide him with some chances from the right flank as his creative spark is imperative and been a joy to watch. 

It looks set to be a straight fight between Iwobi and Bernard for the left-wing starting spot whilst also youngster Anthony Gordon may have an outside chance. 

Andre Gomes had a poor game in midfield against Liverpool whilst Sigurdsson has looked impressive in his substitution cameos so far meaning Ancelotti could consider switching it up in the middle of the park. 

Allan and Doucoure are certain starters if fit, the pair have revolutionised the Everton midfield and will continue to be a nuisance to play against for any opposition side. 

Southampton will be without Theo Walcott who is of course on loan from Everton hence why he will not be available but The Saints will have winger Stuart Armstrong back to potentially replace him from the start. 

Southampton manager Ralph Hassenhuttl in his press conference suggested maybe that Everton had outperformed themselves this season. 

He said: “It is not so new that in the beginning of the season there are one or two clubs who are out-performing for a short term 

“But it is not a coincidence why they are in such a high position in the table at the moment because they play such fantastic football for the first six games.” 

Ancelotti and Everton will be looking to prove him wrong come the end of the season with a top four place the dream aim. 

Beating a strong Southampton side away from home will be a tough challenge Everton will have to come across if they want their dreams to turn into reality, but no one has stopped them yet so advantage Everton. 

Written by Elliot Thompson

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