Southampton return to St Mary’s still shamefaced from their fifth successive defeat against League One Sheffield United, but the chips are stacked against a much-needed victory.
Visiting Everton have hardly been the Premier League’s dandiest highwaymen this term, but they remain an absolute monster 19/10 bet to claim three points.
Quite apart from their hosts’ inability to buy a win, the south coasters have been hit with a sledgehammer double whammy of suspensions.
Morgan Scheiderlin, himself only back from injury in midweek, serves a ban, as does deep-midfield destroyer Victor Wanyama.
With Jack Cork also a long-term casualty, the Saints middle band is likely to have a rather unfamiliar feel to it whether or not in-doubt Steven Davis’ is available to start.
Amazingly their woes don’t end even there, with chief creator Dusan Tadic also ruled out, and Graziano Pelle’s participation far from definite.
Not the kind of situation that would inspire too many punters to back the hosts as 6/4 match-betting favourites then…
The Toffees snapped a four-match winless run against QPR on Monday night and will surely have targeted a favourable run of fixtures to build up some serious momentum while the Europa League is on the back burner over Christmas.
While it’s true Everton have won only twice on the road all season, they’ve travelled almost exclusively to the crème de la crème, with Liverpool, Manchester United, Tottenham and Manchester City responsible for four of the five incidences of dropped away points.
Against a home side groggy on a lethal cocktail of collective poor form and injuries and suspensions to key players they should be able to add three points to their collection at St Mary’s.
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