Back to Goodison! – Southampton (H)

I must say I’ve missed this. When was the last time you enjoyed watching Everton like you did last Saturday evening at Molineux? On paper, the narrative of the match would suggest you should come away feeling disgruntled at ‘two points dropped’. A poor refereeing decision costing us all three points. However, in reality, the usual pessimistic Billy Blue deep within our souls was relatively content.

An opening forty minutes in which our heavily discussed big money signing already netted his first of the season stripped away any pre-season doubts. As Wolves struggled to create any chances on Pickford’s goal, Everton continued to grow in stature. A lapse in concentration by Jagielka allowed Craig Pawson to make his first of his many incoming woeful refereeing decisions as he looks to avenge his awarded penalty for the Blues at Anfield last season…However, despite the goal from the resulting free-kick, 10-man Everton stood tall. I am conscious of this turning into a poorly structured match report, but the ambition to push on and take a 1-2 lead showed exactly the sort of spirit we can expect under Silva, and it’s something this club has lacked for many years. All in all, a 2-2 draw was a more than gratifying start to the season.

Our intentions turn to Saturday afternoon, back within the realms of Goodison Park. Wooden seats, obstructed views, pissed riddled toilet floors and watered down bottles of Carling… brings a smile to my face. The clock is ticking on Goodison Park, therefore now more than ever, we must saviour every match day at the Old Lady, because there isn’t many left. Despite the feel good factor around the place, it’s a surprising fact that Everton have still yet to win a game under Silva (I refuse to acknowledge ATV Irdning).

The good news is, somewhat ironically, Everton’s final home game opponents of last season, are this season’s first home game opponents. Southampton are always a welcome opposition to Goodison Park. In the last 20 years, the Saints have failed to win here, with the Toffees winning 9 of those 13 home meetings. The Saints came closest when the sides met just 105 days ago, however Tom Davies spared Allardyce’s Everton a final home defeat of the season, netting an equaliser from the bench in the 96th minute in front of the crowd of around 12,000 who remained in the stadium. I was there, however to be fair I’ve celebrated sneezes with more conviction.

All eyes on Saturday will be on Richarlison. Not only does he seem exhilarating on-the-pitch, but he is endearing off it. It almost makes the inevitable heartbreak when he leaves us for a ‘bigger club’ in a few seasons worth it… relax. I joke. Everton never sell their best players. *Jim Halpert look to the camera*. In any event, he’s been a joy to watch so far and the confirmation that he should be fit to feature on Saturday after hobbling off at Wolves was music to our ears. Zouma and Bernard may feature too, all of which have trained at various points this week with the first team. I expect to see a similar side to that of which lined up at Molyneux, with a forced change at CB due to Jagielka’s suspension being the only alteration.

Confidence is a dangerous thing when it comes to Everton Football Club. So I approach it with caution, but still, I do fancy a solid victory for the Toffees on Saturday. Even with Charlie Austin’s inevitable goal (three goals in his last three against the Blues), I think we have enough fire power up top to blow Southampton apart.

At long last, welcome back to Goodison Park Ladies and Gents, I shall see you on the terraces.

– David (@DAHughes92)

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