It was a pretty interesting Week One of English Premier League action as the 2018-2019 season got underway last Friday. Manchester United didn’t miss a beat in terms of quality despite Jose Mourinho’s antics, Manchester City looked their dominant selves vs. Arsenal, and perhaps Chelsea will be ready to contend again for a top-spot as early as this May. There are still 37 weeks to go, but the EPL is never short on drama.
Two squads that drew last week will be looking for more in Matchday Two as Everton hosts Southampton at Goodison Park. Last week Everton had a couple of chances to put away the newly promoted Wolverhampton Wanderers, but it didn’t materialize. They showed excellent offensive instincts, and their new signings immediately paid dividends. Richarlison was of a very high quality, though he is battling an injury as the team prepares for Southampton.
The Saints meanwhile endured a bit of a disappointing draw at home last week to Burnley. Burnley had travelled to-and-from Turkey mid-week and were ripe for the taking, but Southampton couldn’t capitalize. It was a very dull match without much to show from either side. I’ve been on record as saying that Southampton could be in trouble in terms of relegation this season, so all these early points against the non-big six sides can be crucial. This week is no different.
Let’s hope Week 2 provides the same flair and excitement as the curtain raisers did. Read on below for a full match breakdown and betting prediction for Everton vs. Southampton on Saturday morning.
Everton vs. Southampton Odds:
Over 2.5 (+110)
Under 2.5 (-130)
Everton vs. Southampton Pick:
With the new-look Toffees set on challenging for a spot in Europe, this is absolutely a match in which they need to obtain the full three points from. Phil Jagielka will be missed following last week’s red card, but they have the talent and skill to put away the Saints early. Whether or not they can execute is a different question entirely.
Many were skeptical when Everton went out this offseason and made a big splash bringing in striker Richarlison, but the Brazilian has already paid dividends. He was excellent last week against Wolves, and though he is banged up, he is reportedly fit to suit up on Saturday against the Saints.
That should really trouble Southampton’s defense as that unit didn’t look too sure of themselves last week against Burnley. Their opponents routinely controlled possession and carried the bulk of play and overall chances. The Saints did fare better in the second half, but the Toffees possess a much stiffer test. Their attacking quartet can really trouble Southampton, especially with the speed of Theo Walcott and Richarlison on the flanks. Gylfi Sigurdsson should control the middle of the pitch, while also providing great service up top to Cenk Tosun. The Turkish striker had a strong finish last week and should be primed to find the back of the net on Saturday.
Southampton plays to many draws and will likely be fine with another on Saturday, but I can’t envision Mark Hughes’ side being able to hold off Everton. Their back three is relatively untested and Jannik Vestergaard in the center of defense is far too slow to track the pace of Everton’s rapid attackers. Joe Hart had a promising debut last week for the Saints, but I can’t see this being anything else but a comfortable Everton victory at home on Saturday.
PICK = Everton (-115)