Everton 3 vs Southampton 1 Sept. 29, 2012
Everton: Howard, Heitinga, Coleman, Jagielka, Neville, Baines, Fellaini, Osman (Distin 90′), Pienaar, Mirallas (Oviedo 80′), Jelavic (Anichebe 77′)
Subs not used: Mucha, Duffy, Gueye, Vellios
Southampton: Gazzaniga, Clyne (Reeves 81′), Fonte, Richardson, Yoshida, Davis, Ramirez, Ward-Prowse, Lallana (Chaplow 90′), Lambert, Rodriguez (Mayuka 81′)
Subs not Used: Davis, Hooiveld, Puncheon, Do Prado
Everton were on fire under the direction of David Moyes, the blues sat firmly in the top 4, all be it early days, coming into the game having won 5 out of 6 league games at home. Southampton came in as a team with an absolute goal shipping problem the likes of which are unheard of, (unless you watched the start of Everton’s 17-18 campaign.) In the sixth minute, Southampton took Everton completely off guard when new 12 million pound signing Gaston Ramirez went unmarked, deftly heading in a Lallana cross, making it 1-0 to the Saints. However first half was a tale of, well, two halves as Everton equalized after a Mirallas cross found Leon Osman, who would make no mistake from 1 yard out. Then, in rapid succession, Mirallas threaded a beautiful ball to Jelavic who scored from a very difficult angle putting the blues up 2-1. Everton were not done though, Jelavic got his third goal off a beautiful header that Saints’ keeper Gazzaniga got a hand to and could not keep out, and in just over 10 minutes Everton had gone up 3-1.
While Everton won the clash in 2012 comfortably after a shaky start, the last 2 matches have been nothing short of glaringly disappointing. A 4-1 Drubbing at St. Mary’s under Koeman, a game that ultimately would get him the sack, and then a 1-1 home draw that needed an extra time goal for Gylfi Siggurdson. Southampton seemed to have Everton’s number, controlling the midfield, and seeming to keep the blues’ front line in check. Everton meanwhile, shipping goals in the early season, had a lack of confidence and morale that most certainly hampered their ability to get a result. But now, heading into the second game of the 18-19 campaign, Everton seem to have all the confidence in the world.
So what can we make of the first home fixture for the toffees, and a possible debut for loanee Zouma? Everton have gotten more talented no doubt about it, on paper and demonstrably on the field where the attack looked more fluid than it did all of last year. With fresh faces on the backline there should only be improvement, and Southampton’s lack of quality attacking should stand to hurt them. The blues should win this game in front of the home crowd, and I believe they will.
Prediction: Everton 3-1 Southampton
Up the Toffees!!!!!