So, the Carabao Cup rolls around once again, with round 3 bringing the Saints to Goodison Park for a showdown that will show, ultimately, who wants to go win this trophy more. Everton’s round 2 performance showed a comfortable, if not dominant performance over a poor Rotherham side, where Dominic Calvert-Lewin bagged a brace and the blues won 3-1. Southampton’s round 2 showdown with Brighton was an up and down the field affair, that saw Southampton’s Charlie Austin bag an 88th minute winner to send the Saints through. Southampton comes to Goodison, losers of 4 of their first 6 premier league games and placeholders of the 16th position. Everton meanwhile comes into the game sitting in 11th, and showing the beginning of the vision of Marco Silva, fluid, attacking paces football that stretches out opposing defenses, best exemplified by the 3-0 thrashing of newly promoted Fulham. So, with 2 teams heading in 2 different directions, what can we expect on Tuesday?
For Everton expect for the Blues to come out with a relatively strong lineup and attempt to overwhelm the Saints early with pace and attacking prowess. This game seems to present a perfect opportunity for Everton to start Bernard on the wing, someone who in limited minutes has been an absolute star and looks to be a key player in the coming months and hopefully years. In keeping with an attacking mindset, youngster Ademola Lookman could find his way into the 11. A good game could be crucial for Lookman’s confidence as his return from Leipzig has seen a lot of bench time and hurt egos. Lookman and Bernard on the wings, with a pairing of DCL and Cenk Tosun up top, could be a huge attacking force. Tosun, who scored his first goal of the season, could be looking to come into form, and DCL has showed his prowess in scoring in the cup games. Everton’s front 4 will be crucial as a weaker Saints’ defense could be easy to expose, and a growing in confidence for Tosun and maybe even Lookman would be huge for the Carabao Cup and beyond.
For Southampton expect a near full strength side, where Gabbiadini will more than likely be replaced by Charlie Austin, a striker that has been more prolific and bagged the winner in round 2. The Saints have struggled to score goals against some of the more successful teams, getting blanked by the likes of Liverpool and Wolverhampton. Everton and Southampton met earlier in the year, with Walcott and Richardson scoring in a 2-1 home win. Southampton will need to look for bigger games from their fullbacks, as Southampton was shredded by the pacey wingers deployed by Everton. Talented RB Nathon Redmond will be a key player if he plays, While Mario Yoshida will need to hold his own in the center of that back four. For the Saints to have a chance, a crossing, counterattacking game might be the best strategy, with long balls being hoofed forward to Charlie Austin.
What will happen is probably a bit more of the same for the dueling clubs. Everton got the best of Southampton just recently and with a side that gels together better every match, there is not a lot here to suggest that Southampton will come to Goodison and shock the blues. Everton must be careful not to look ahead to an away day at Leicester, and must not expose themselves at the back pushing to many men forward. Southampton’s biggest chance will be to expose Everton at the back, where the defense has been rather shaky at times, even though a clean sheet against Fulham will look to boost confidence.
As for my prediction… I see nothing other than an Everton victory. The blues should look to overwhelm the Saints up front, and no matter who starts on the wings, Marco should be looking to get the ball forward as quickly as possible. 3 goals on the day for Everton, and Southampton will be staring down the barrel of a blank.
Everton 3-0 Southampton