Southampton’s season without Nigel Adkins begins at home to Everton. Adkins was sacked by the club on Friday and Mauricio Pochettino was immediately appointed as his successor. That was despite Southampton fighting from 2-0 down to draw at Chelsea in Adkins’ final match as manager.
Everton are a club demonstrating the benefits of allowing a manager time to bed in and progress – David Moyes has been at Goodison Park for almost 11 years, and the club sit fifth in the Premier League, ahead of the likes of Arsenal and Liverpool.
Southampton are in good form, unbeaten in the league since 22 December, and their win away to Aston Villa and draw at Chelsea put them three points clear of the relegation zone. Yet their managerial upheaval, and the widespread shock among fans, could be exploited by Monday’s visitors, themselves unbeaten in 2013 and recording four wins out of seven league matches.
Moyes has a largely fit squad to pick from with the return of Johnny Heitinga, although Darron Gibson and Tony Hibbert remain sidelined and Kevin Mirallas is still working his way back to fitness. Southampton’s defence has been improving, but they face a challenge in eight-goal Marouane Fellaini. The giant Belgian has not scored in his last seven league games, and will be determined to improve on that statistic.
KICK-OFF: Monday, 8pm
PAST THREE MEETINGS…
Everton 3 (Osman, Jelavic 2) Southampton 1 (Ramirez), Premier League, September 2012
Southampton 2 (Crouch, Camara) Everton 2 (Beattie, Bent), Premier League, February 2005
Everton 1 (Osman) Southampton 0, Premier League, October 2004
Head-to-head, Everton have 38 league wins to Southampton’s 22.
Southampton’s last win over Everton came on 11 September 2002, Marian Pahars scoring the only goal of the game.
Everton’s 0-0 draw with Swansea last weekend was their first clean sheet since they beat Swansea 3-0 on 22 September 2012.
It was also the first time Everton had failed to find the net since a 2-0 loss to West Brom on 1 September 2012.
Southampton’s Rickie Lambert has 10 league goals this season, and four in his last five matches.
Southampton to win: 4.2
Everton to win: 2.04
TV: Live on Sky Sports 1 at 8pm.