Could this be the game that finally marks Allan's comeback from a three-month lay-off with a hamstring injury?
After enjoying a welcome nine-day break after what was a flurry of fixtures, Everton return to Premier League action against Southampton in the Monday night game.
Having cleared a huge psychological hurdle by beating Liverpool at Anfield last weekend, the Blues face another test of their mentality, this time in the shape of their bafflingly poor home form against clubs from the lower half of the table.
Carlo Ancelotti's men proved their mettle in the FA Cup Fifth Round win over Tottenham last month but have fallen apart against struggling teams like Fulham and Newcastle and failed to do themselves justice against either West Ham or Leicester.
They have lost three home successive games but welcome a Saints side who are winless in eight League games since they beat Liverpool in early January, a run that included another harrowing 9-0 defeat, and have fallen from top spot in October when they beat Everton at St Mary's to 14th place.
That's just kind of banana skin that has upended Ancelotti's team this season and preparing them mentally this week has probably been just as important as their physical conditioning at Finch Farm. Not since 2,000 fans were allowed inside Goodison Park have the Toffees won on home turf and and that's a trend that cannot continue of European qualification is to remain a realistic goal this season.
In terms of selection, Ancelotti should be in good shape, with Dominic Calvert-Lewin, a 62nd-minute substitute at Anfield, and Allan, who was unused last time out, benefitting from another week's training to hopefully be available to start. The Brazilian presents something of a dilemma, however, given how impressive Tom Davies has been in the “No. 6” role in recent games. But Allan's versatility means that it doesn't have to be a straight choice and there is plenty of scope for him to be pushed forward into the position occupied by André Gomes from the start against Liverpool, leaving Davies to continue sitting in front of the back four.
Calvert-Lewin's inclusion would be a more straight-forward decision if he is fully over his hamstring issue, although it would move Richarlison back to his wider role on the left and push Lucas Digne back to left-back again. That leaves the question of whether to deploy Ben Godfrey as a centre-half in place of the injured Yerry Mina or as right back, with Mason Holgate playing centrally alongside Michael Keane.
Complicating Ralph Hasenhüttl's cause is a string of injuries that includes Oriol Romeu, who is now out for the season, loanees Takumi Minamino (hamstring) and Theo Walcott (he would have been ineligible to face his parent club anyway) and Kyle Walker-Peters. Ibrahima Diallo, Will Smallbone and Michael Obafemi have also been ruled out.
Regardless of who plays, the key for Everton will be to start fast and with intensity, finding their passing rhythm through the lines and creating early chances to make the breakthrough before Southampton have had a chance to settle. None of that happened against Leeds at home, against West Ham, Newcastle or Fulham and it ended with frustrated, toothless performances and zero points.
This time it has to be different because following the results elsewhere over the weekend, a victory for the Blues would put them back level on points with Liverpool in sixth and two points off fourth place with a game in hand over all of the teams above them. The incentives are huge so it's time to deliver and prolong Southampton's dreadful sequence of results with a confident win to take to West Brom on Thursday.
Kick-off: 8pm, Monday, 1 March 2021 on Sky Sports
Referee: Martin Atkinson
VAR: Jon Moss
Last Time: Everton 1 - 1 Southampton
Predicted Line-up: Pickford, Holgate, Keane, Godfrey, Digne, Davies, Doucouré, Allan, Rodriguez, Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin
Reader Comments (83)
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1 Posted 01/03/2021 at 06:35:07
I suppose the most interesting may be who starts at right-back and if we continue rotating keepers. Sounds almost swings and roundabouts rather than squares and circles.
2 Posted 01/03/2021 at 06:56:16
We have been in this situation a few times already with a seemingly winnable game at home, only to banana skin. However I think and hope, that we may have turned that ugly corner, and with almost a full strength side to choose from, feel we should get all three points.
The Sinbads seem to be in free fall considering their start to the season, and Ralph looks Hassenhuttled. Hoping too that the psychological boost from beating the RS at Mordor, will be a shot in the arm for the rest of the remaining season.
3 Posted 01/03/2021 at 07:03:45
I'd make one change to his lineup and start Seamus who will give more going forward and has been excellent lately.
4 Posted 01/03/2021 at 07:04:33
Ancelotti and the players when interviewed have all accepted that the home form is not good enough and know they have to correct it.
For the run-in we have to play the strongest team available to us they can have a good rest in a couple of months. No reason we can't go on a City-like run.
5 Posted 01/03/2021 at 07:21:43
6 Posted 01/03/2021 at 07:27:57
7 Posted 01/03/2021 at 08:04:36
8 Posted 01/03/2021 at 08:06:28
9 Posted 01/03/2021 at 08:25:48
This is going to be a very important week for Everton as I am sure they know, two winnable games this week before Chelsea.
I would like to think we can pick up at least 7 points and really put the noses out at Sky.
10 Posted 01/03/2021 at 08:39:42
Time for a change please, boys. COYB.
11 Posted 01/03/2021 at 08:40:27
Nothing short of a win will do, and we simply must not see them falling into a reverie for the first 45. No room for any complacency as they have Ings, who usually finds a bit of space in our defence.
12 Posted 01/03/2021 at 08:47:01
But somehow I dont think Carlo trust Coleman anymore.
13 Posted 01/03/2021 at 08:48:28
4 points from these next two games is a must to move away from those behind us and close the gap on those above.
For me Allan and DCL start in place of Gomes and Holgate
14 Posted 01/03/2021 at 08:54:16
15 Posted 01/03/2021 at 09:21:56
9 days rest for tired legs, hammies and minds. There are no excuses, only a win will do - a performance of last weeks calibre will see these off.
16 Posted 01/03/2021 at 09:22:00
But we should be fresh and very confident. Allan is a cracking player so we'll be better for having him fit too.
17 Posted 01/03/2021 at 09:32:24
18 Posted 01/03/2021 at 09:33:35
19 Posted 01/03/2021 at 09:59:09
I hope we win. We should win. But this is Everton.
20 Posted 01/03/2021 at 10:00:04
21 Posted 01/03/2021 at 10:09:54
This should be a straight-forward victory, but we're used to not taking anything for granted.
We have generally struggled after long spells between games, from my memory we also seem to struggle with monday evening games, and we always like to give teams struggling for results a nice bump.
But hopefully, after getting the result at Anfield, we can now turn a corner. This is the exact game previous Everton's would lose...so hopefully this is a chance to show we really have changed. Today and then West Brom provide a real opportunity for us.
Allan, Davies, and Doucoure in the middle. Or Allan, Doucoure and Gomes? Or Allan indroduced from teh bench?
Other than that, James in free-role/right-forward, Rich on the left-forward and DCL in the middle. Digne on the left. Play Coleman or Godfrey/Holgate at fulll back?
I think we're due a game where we hammer the opposition. So i'm going with 5-0 and a Richarlison hat-trick.
22 Posted 01/03/2021 at 10:10:05
Holgate Keane Godfrey
Coleman Allan Doucoure Digne
23 Posted 01/03/2021 at 10:15:18
24 Posted 01/03/2021 at 10:15:50
Do you not realise how this angers the Gods of football? Gods who already have it in for us!
25 Posted 01/03/2021 at 10:23:37
26 Posted 01/03/2021 at 10:25:48
27 Posted 01/03/2021 at 10:27:01
Southampton ended our winning run earlier in the season and was one of our worst performances away from home, Tonight we must be on the front foot from the first whistle, showing intent and belief and not the strolling around for the first 20 minutes that we showed against Newcastle and Fulham. I still think it will be a big ask to break into the top 4 but with the way other clubs apart from City have gone we have a chance, but we have to start matching our away form at Goodison to do that. Just for once Everton make us believe that we are turning the corner.
28 Posted 01/03/2021 at 10:36:06
Agree with your team Lyndon.
29 Posted 01/03/2021 at 10:45:46
30 Posted 01/03/2021 at 10:50:20
Don't choke Everton. We are well placed to take advantage this week. No giving a team on a poor run a helping hand out of their hole like we did against Newcastle. Positivity and confidence from the off.
31 Posted 01/03/2021 at 11:00:23
Davies breaking up play in front of the central defenders will allow Allan and Doucoure to press on the half way line and hopefully stop the need for James to keep coming so deep to get the ball.
32 Posted 01/03/2021 at 11:03:00
I wouldnt let André anywhere near this one with Ward Prowes so good with free kicks.
33 Posted 01/03/2021 at 11:04:25
34 Posted 01/03/2021 at 11:30:43
I agree that ‘Davies-Allan-Doucoure is probably our best midfield at the moment. We should probably start tonights game with that midfield. I do wonder if they will be offensive enough in games we are expected to win though. I am no fan of Sigurdsson, but he may well have to come on for Allan or Davies at some point if we need a player further forward than Allan or Davies.
If we can win both of these games 2-0 this week, well be up to 4th and our goal difference will be looking much better also. COYB!
35 Posted 01/03/2021 at 11:33:45
36 Posted 01/03/2021 at 11:34:56
Southampton are on a losing streak and have half their first team laid up with injury. If we cant dominate and beat the team they put out then Im not sure we deserve top 4
37 Posted 01/03/2021 at 11:43:45
Anyway, on to the game, Lyndon's XI looks good, but I somehow don't think Carlo will drop Siggy. I expect that either James or Davies will be on the bench to take advantage of Siggy's free-kick/penalty delivery.
Holgate Keane Godfrey Digne
Doucoure Davies Allan
SUBS: Olsen, Coleman, Gomes, James, Bernard, King, Iwobi
That is a pretty strong bench, IMO.
I will be peeking into my phone screen tomorrow morning with trembling hands...
38 Posted 01/03/2021 at 11:50:11
Man for man, Southampton are way below us, so yes, if we don't win this then it shows we don't have the right mindset for the top table.
39 Posted 01/03/2021 at 11:57:41
From yesterdays Guardian: "The Everton manager said: “When you play a derby against Liverpool, a top team, it is easier to find the concentration and the motivation. It is more difficult when you have to find the right concentration and motivation in other games, and we have to work on this. It is not easy. We have to push ourselves to be more focused and more motivated, but we have to do it.
“My players are intelligent, they know we had problems in the past and we want to solve these problems. The run away was so good but we understand that, at home, we have to do better. We have the possibility against Southampton and we dont want to make the same mistakes as we made in the past games at home. A derby is a special game but this game has the same value. The points on the table are the same.”
42 Posted 01/03/2021 at 12:32:53
Oh God Atkinson the referee !!!
44 Posted 01/03/2021 at 12:39:03
45 Posted 01/03/2021 at 12:57:31
46 Posted 01/03/2021 at 13:04:35
Lets hope we can turn things around with an astounding victory at Goodison.
47 Posted 01/03/2021 at 13:44:49
48 Posted 01/03/2021 at 14:05:30
49 Posted 01/03/2021 at 14:24:36
50 Posted 01/03/2021 at 14:38:45
51 Posted 01/03/2021 at 14:49:34
Southampton despite their recent results will be high energy and very physical so we have to win that battle before we start to play.
Unlike the RS they are very strong through the middle although Romeu will be out but they still have Ward Prowse who will have to be taken care of.
They are relatively poor at full back so I see Richy and whoever we play right flank to hopefully exploit them.
I hope we keep a clean sheet and score a couple. 2-0 to the Blues.
53 Posted 01/03/2021 at 15:01:26
1. Do not concede any unnecessary corner kicks. Southampton are excellent at putting the ball in under the crossbar making it difficult for the goalkeeper to defend.
2. Do not give Ward-Prowse (or, as Tony A. would call him, "Prowse") the room to dominate the game as he has done the last couple of times we have played against them.
54 Posted 01/03/2021 at 15:16:55
55 Posted 01/03/2021 at 15:31:09
56 Posted 01/03/2021 at 15:50:29
Lyndon is absolutely right, its all about going hard and fast right from the start. Theres no way we can let Southampton to execute the obvious game plan.
All out war in midfield to win possession, right from the first whistle.
If we can do that we have the better players to win the game.
Everton 3 Southampton 1
57 Posted 01/03/2021 at 16:08:31
I think we need Digne and Coleman at full back though if we have Davies, Allan and Doucoure in Midfield. That allows Rodriguez to float about and Richarlison to stay closer to DCL without compromising the width.
58 Posted 01/03/2021 at 16:29:57
59 Posted 01/03/2021 at 16:32:38
Hope Ancelotti after the Liverpool,have finally changed the mindset of the players, and let them be aware that there is no easy game in the Premier League.
60 Posted 01/03/2021 at 16:33:34
I like the idea of Davies, Doucouré and Allan with James ahead of them.. Somehow I doubt that Mr A will agree.
Fingers crossed for a decent performance and a win.
61 Posted 01/03/2021 at 16:39:03
I've got this all worked out right haha.
3-0 confident as
62 Posted 01/03/2021 at 16:44:18
Not calling the score but any result (win) will do, and a clean sheet with goals from Richy and/or Keano will suit me for FFL reasons!
66 Posted 01/03/2021 at 16:53:01
Is that right, City's our final game?
That's excellent. They'll have sewn up the title by then and will be on cruise control and we'll need just a draw to edge the rs to fourth place.
I can see it now, City are one nil up with seconds to go when we get a debatable penalty which goes to VAR, is given, and then Gylfi takes it, hit's the post, but the ball bounces off the post onto Edison's head and into the net.
Goal, one all!
It's the last kick of the game.
Everton finish fourth and the rs fifth!
67 Posted 01/03/2021 at 16:55:23
Re the new stadium: "Our owner put a lot of power in the club, put a lot of money in the club, invested a lot, and of course now it's time... to bring Everton into the top clubs in England and to compete with the top clubs in England and also Europe."
Robert #55, condolences, but some of us glory in this kickoff time -- it's noon on the US West Coast! Beats the hell out of getting up at 4am for a noon GMT kickoff.
68 Posted 01/03/2021 at 16:57:17
That being said, it's a game we should win, and therein lies the rub. It's always seemed to me that when we enter a game we "should" win, we play without that fire and determination necessary to win games in this league.
So I'm actually very fearful of this game. Couple in the poor home form playing it's endless psychological mind games with our squad, and you do have a recipe for disappointment.
I desperately want to see a midfield of Allan, Davies, and Doucoure. I think Gomes might get the nod though. Carlo seems to like to start him in games where we need to unlock teams. He might see this as one of them, Gomes being effective to break that pressing game of Southampton.
I all but guaranteed a win against Liverpool. I can't do that with Southampton. I'm praying that the rest will help us and we'll come out firing. If we do that, we'll win. Any laziness or preconceived notion of being "better" than Southampton and we'll struggle.
69 Posted 01/03/2021 at 17:01:43
This week will be a good test of what we are made of. Three games in eight days, seven points minimum required.
70 Posted 01/03/2021 at 17:02:14
If we win this game, and then fast-forwarding and predicting a win against Villa with our game in-hand, we're in 4th place as the table sits today, on 46 points with 26 played.
I'm sure the players and everyone in management is aware of this.
Will Everton finally grab that brass ring staring it straight in the face this season? Or will we "know our place" in the pre-determined fate of the Premier League, and wallow around 7th? This game, bouncing back off the high of beating the poo, will tell us a lot about this squad's mentality.
71 Posted 01/03/2021 at 17:03:21
2-0 for me, with Picks to make a spectacular save on the one Ward-Prowse free kick we are always foolish enough to give up.
72 Posted 01/03/2021 at 17:03:49
73 Posted 01/03/2021 at 17:07:17
74 Posted 01/03/2021 at 17:10:17
76 Posted 01/03/2021 at 17:18:43
I'm sure this isn't accurate, but it seems to me that when the pre-game TW posts are full of confidence and predicting wins, we shit the bed.
I hope I'm wrong. But make no mistake, Southampton is a good side determined to right their present form. They will be a very tough team to beat today in my opinion.
The league is cyclical. We've hit one of our heights beating "them". Conversely, Southampton are presently in the doldrums. The mighty universe likes balance in it's own way. Let's hope my cosmic view of this match is way, way off and merely superstition.
77 Posted 01/03/2021 at 17:19:36
Football is an unpredictable beast at the best of times and Everton certainly play their part in ensuring that mantle is maintained.
The target of 7 points from the next 3 games is a reasonable one. But as confident as I am tonight, I would not be surprised if Everton done it back to front and the hard way so to speak. Drop points against Southampton and / or West Brom, beat Chelsea. Give us 5 rather than 7 just to keep us on our seats and the edges of our poor worn out finger nails!!
78 Posted 01/03/2021 at 17:29:04
81 Posted 01/03/2021 at 17:41:51
82 Posted 01/03/2021 at 17:51:12
Let's see who wants it more from our squad and get them on the team sheet, and then surround them with players in the right positions in a good formation. We've got very good players who on their day can win any match, so just pick the ones who want to grab hold of the game tonight and put in the hard yards.
If that fails, let's see who got the highest average ratings against the teams in the bottom ten teams, and play them as the core in the next two games and mix it with our 'better' players.
83 Posted 01/03/2021 at 17:51:21
You've succinctly summed up my thoughts, and fears, of this game in a nutshell.
84 Posted 01/03/2021 at 17:53:34
If you butter two pieces of bread, slap some shaved chicken inside it with a slice of pepper jack cheese, and grill it?
Is this a grilled chicken and cheese butty? Asking because I'm scarfing one down for lunch as I type.
85 Posted 01/03/2021 at 18:04:35
Lunch at 17.35 ?
What time is your evening meal ? Presumably after we have put the Saints to bed.
86 Posted 01/03/2021 at 18:06:56
Don't just need to win the next two games but need to win them very well.
87 Posted 01/03/2021 at 18:10:43
88 Posted 01/03/2021 at 18:11:08
89 Posted 01/03/2021 at 18:15:17
90 Posted 01/03/2021 at 18:18:02
Just hope we do not do an Everton tonight where we cave in at a big opportunity or very over distracted due to last weeks win. Home form is shocking this season. And we cannot to lose another game at the old lady. Let's just get the job done.
91 Posted 01/03/2021 at 18:20:39
Like the Fulham match we again have a chance to stake a claim for Europe and open up the opportunity to finish above the RS. Keeping them out of Europe will at the very least force the corrupt Eufa to change its rules and/or engage in some match fixing. (Something sneaky like anyone who's won the CL in last five years automatically qualifies)
I hope we grab this match by the throat and Davies gets to show again what he is capable of. Four nil please - so no fouls just outside the box. Prevent the RS Ings and Ward-Prowse from even getting a sniff at goal, giving Pickford a well deserved easy 90 minutes.
After last week we all need to enjoy a nice stress free easy win. COYB
92 Posted 01/03/2021 at 18:31:00
93 Posted 01/03/2021 at 18:52:07
We've had a good break since the derby and the time between the games is better than an evening Thursday night game and an afternoon Sunday kick-off, so I don't see the problem of 2 ‘midweek' games.
I've always thought if I were playing I would prefer an evening kick-off to a midday one and the goalies don't have to worry about those odd angles of the sun either.
Just hope the players have had a good rest but are primed to be quick off the starting blocks tonight.
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