Everton need to make amends for the embarrassing Capitol One Cup exit at the hands of Leeds United and the match against newly promoted Southampton side appear to be a perfect opportunity to do so. The Saints ended the four-match losing run with a 4-1 win over Aston Villa, but they could find it hard to match in-form Toffees at Goodison Park.
David Moyes demands a response
Tight budget and small playing squad have long prevented David Moyes from taking the next step with Everton, but it appears the Toffees are finally on the right track. The return of Steven Pienaar and arrival of players like Nikica Jelavic, Kevin Mirallas, Bryan Oviedo and Steven Naismith significantly boosted the quality of the squad, while the likes of Marouane Fellaini and Victor Anichebe finally started realizing their full potential. As a result, the Toffees have been absolutely brilliant at the start of the season, taking 10 points from first 5 games, although the 2-1 League Cup defeat to Leeds United was seen as a major blow. Nevertheless, the setback is likely to make the team even more motivated to continue the impressive run in the Premier League and with most of the starters rested in midweek, the Toffees look a good bet to beat struggling Southampton.
Darron Gibson remains sidelined, but Steven Pienaar, Phil Jagielka and other first team regulars are back after missing the Leeds United game.
First win for Saints
With the likes of Morgan Schneiderlin, Jack Cork, Adam Lallana and new signings Emmanuel Mayuka and Gaston Ramirez, Southampton boast a very talented squad, but the lack of Premier League experience could cost them dearly this season. The club chiefs failed to properly reinforce the squad after the team ensured promotion to the elite division, so no wonder their results have been pretty disappointing so far. The difficult fixture list and clashes against City, United and Arsenal can be considered an excuse for the poor start of the league campaign, but the 2-0 home defeat to Wigan hinted Southampton will be in for a very difficult season. The Saints managed to end the dismal run of results as they beat Aston Villa at home, while also recording a Capitol One Cup victory over Sheffield, but I seriously doubt they have what it takes to stop high-flying Everton at Goodison Park.
Midfielder Jack Cork is out with a knee problem, but exciting forward Emmanuel Mayuka should return from an ankle injury.
After quite a while, Everton have hit the ground running early into the season and with their star players back to the side, the Toffees are expected to record a comfortable win over Southampton. The Saints clearly lack the quality and experience to match the best sides in the league and fifth defeat of the season looks on the cards.
Our prediction: Everton with -1 European handicap
Odds: 2.25 (5/4)