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Venue: St Mary's Stadium, S'hampton
Premier League
 Saturday 20 December 2014; 3:00pm
SO'HAMPTON
3 0
 EVERTON
Lukaku (og:38'), Pellè (65')
Yoshida (82′)
Half Time: 1-0
Attendance: 31,475
Fixture 17
Referee: Jon Moss

Match Summary

Gareth Barry and Samuel Eto'o were in the starting line-up for Everton's match at Southampton. McCarthy, Hibbert, Osman, Gibson, Atsu and Mirallas were all out injured.

Southampton went close with a good chance on 10 minutes, Pelle heading just over. Then Eto'o put Steven Naismith through but a defender was back quickly to block the chance.

A sequence of four corners for Everton lead to nothing with Lukaku being called offside again.

Eto'o went down after getting a smack in the face but Everton played on, Barkley getting a shot in on goal before the game was stopped.

Barry got forward and played in Lukaku but the big man could not pull off his acrobatic shot. At the other end, Jagielka was watching an aerial ball and ended up taking out Shane Long with a high boot as he was coming in on his blindside. Southampton wanted a penalty but scored anyway from the resulting corner, Lukaku heading in an own goal under pressure.

Everton pushed forward after a buoyant spell for the home side, Coleman's cross to Eto'o was a difficult one to try to convert.

Everton struggled at times in the second half, Southampton proving to be difficult opponents as the game became increasingly stretched before any substitutions were made.

Pelle was able to force the ball past a flailing Howard to double the lead as Everton again failed to really test the home keeper after Clyne somehow got his cross in past Howard.

Besic picked up another yellow card and Font almost scored but for a good save from Howard.

Barkley did well to win a free-kick off a foul by Font but the young star could only drive into the wall.

Yoshida got on the end of a simple ball to make it 3-0, a shockingly poor result. It was summed up by a glorious chance for Lukaku at the death, but he could not beat Forster. With away fans trouping out before the end, there were boos again for the increasingly vacuous possession football insisted on by Roberto Martinez, who incredibly failed to make a single substitution.

Michael Kenrick

Match Preview

Having chalked up their fifth win of the League season and stepped back into the top half of the table, Everton head south to Southampton looking to build some momentum heading into the Festive programme. Between now and New Year's Day the Blues have 12 points to play for which, in the unlikely event they claim them all, would put them on 33 points with 20 matches played.

That's five points less than at the same stage last season but, seeing as they're currently 10 points off last year's pace, it would represent a decent gain and would likely put Everton back in Champions League contention. Three of the four fixtures are away from home, though, so it's a massively tall order for a team that has won consecutive Premier League games on only one occasion thus far.

One step at a time, though, and that puts the focus on the clash with faltering Southampton at the St Mary's. Tipped to go down after losing Mauricio Pochettino to Tottenham and selling so many apparently key players over the summer, the Saints under new boss Ronald Koeman got off to an incredible start. As strong as they looked, with Graziano Pelle's goals, Victor Wanyama's power in midfield, Dusan Tadic's creativity, and a solid defence, it was always likely to be unsustainable and they have now lost five straight in all competitions.

Injuries and suspensions are starting to take their toll and, having fallen out of the top four, Koeman faces his first test as a Premier League manager to stem the bleeding with important members of his side out. Jack Cork is ruled out for two months, both Tadic and Steven Davis are major doubts through injury for this weekend, while Morgan Schneiderlin and Wanyama are both suspended for the Blues' visit.

Those absentees can only help Martinez's cause but he will be focusing on his own team where James McCarthy has been given a 50-50 chance of being passed fit along with Darron Gibson. The manager told the media today that both players are back training with the first team but whether he elects to risk either of them remains to be seen, particularly when Gareth Barry's return from a one-game ban and Muhamed Besic's form will provide him with the leeway to give both players another week to gain more fitness.

Martinez also had positive news regarding Kevin Mirallas and Leon Osman, confirming suggestions earlier in the week that the Belgian hadn't sustained any significant damage to his ankle against QPR and quashing a report that Osman might need surgery on a foot injury. Neither will be fit to face Southampton but Mirallas, at least, looks likely to be ready again for the visit of Stoke on Boxing Day.

As Everton's most creative attacking force, Mirallas will be sorely missed but Martinez has a ready-made option in moving Ross Barkley into a more attacking role with Steven Naismith and Romelu Lukaku. It would mean less width, particularly on the left flank but it might open up more space going forward for Leighton Baines who has been uncharacteristically subdued in recent matches.

Seamus Coleman has been a similar boat on the other side of the field but, as the only true winger available for selection, Aiden McGeady is likely to continue there this weekend. Samuel Eto'o and Arouna Kone offer more permutations to Maritnez's starting XI but starting either forward would surely require dropping one of Barkley and Naismith, both of whom played starring roles in the win over QPR.

While the Blues don't often fare well on their long trips to the south coast, Southampton's sinking morale and selection problems mean that this fixture is not the daunting prospect it was a few weeks ago. And Everton won't have to go too far to improving on their last appearance at the St Mary's, a sorry 2-0 reverse in late April where two own goals finally killed off their top-four hopes for good.

Away from the pressures to perform at Goodison and against a team who plays more open football, the Blues can hopefully use the relief of Monday's victory to play more like themselves and come away with three important points.

Lyndon Lloyd

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Match Preview
Match Summary
Match Report
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SOUTHAMPTON (4-4-2)
  Forster
  Clyne
  Fonte booked
  Yoshida
  Bertrand
  Alderweireld
  Reed
  Davis
  Ward-Prowse (80' Targett)
  Long (89' Gape)
  Pellè
  Subs not used
  Davis
  Mané
  McCarthy
  McQueen
  Seager

EVERTON (4-5-1)
   Howard
  Coleman
  Jagielka
  Distin
  Baines
  Besic booked
  Barry
  Naismith
  Eto'o
  Barkley
  Lukaku
  Subs not used
Robles
  Alcaraz
  Stones
  Garbutt
  Pienaar
  McGeady
  Koné
  Unavailable
  Atsu (injured)
  Gibson (injured)
  McCarthy (injured)
  Mirallas (injured)
  Osman (injured)
  Hope (loan)
  Kennedy (loan)
  Lundstram (loan)

  • Possession
  • Shots on target
  • Shots off target
  • Corners

Premier League Scores
Saturday
Aston Villa 1-1 Man United
Hull City 0-1 Swansea
Man City 3-0 C Palace
QPR 3-2 West Brom
So'hampton 3-0 Everton
Tottenham 2-1 Burnley
West Ham 2-0 Leicester
Sunday
Liverpool 2-2 Arsenal
Newcastle 0-1 Sunderland
Monday
Stoke City 0-2 Chelsea

Team Pts
1 Chelsea 42
2 Manchester City 39
3 Manchester United 32
4 West Ham United 31
5 Southampton 29
6 Arsenal 27
7 Tottenham Hotspur 27
8 Swansea City 25
9 Newcastle United 23
10 Liverpool 22
11 Everton 21
12 Aston Villa 20
13 Stoke City 19
14 Sunderland 19
15 West Bromwich Albion 17
16 Queens Park Rangers 17
17 Crystal Palace 15
18 Burnley 15
19 Hull City 13
20 Leicester City 10


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