Everton 1-0 Southampton
- Goals: Richarlison (£7.9m)
- Assists: Gylfi Sigurdsson (£6.8m)
- Bonus points: Michael Keane x3 (£5.1m), Richarlison x2, Sigurdsson x1
THE OTHER GUY
Richarlison (£7.9m) is quietly emerging as Everton’s chief goal threat, adding his fifth goal of the season against Southampton.
The Brazilian has now found the net in each of his last three Premier League outings, none of his colleagues matching that tally over the same period.
Admittedly, Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£7.8m) was absent for one-and-a-half of those but his backers will not have particularly enjoyed his role on Monday night.
While he was deployed in a front-two alongside Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin was more of a hold-up man than a target for Everton’s attacks.
With Southampton often shifting into a three-man defence at Goodison Park, Carlo Ancelotti had Calvert-Lewin drift wide to go one-on-one with Mohammed Salisu (£4.3m).
The mid-priced forward performed the task admirably, causing Southampton’s centre-back a long list of problems, they were just too far away from the dangerous areas Calvert-Lewin’s captainers wanted to see him in.
He even managed to assist the assister for Everton’s opener in the first half, winning two headers against Salisu before lining Gylfi Sigurdsson (£6.8m) up to slot Richarlison in for his goal.
There were some ‘nearly moments’ for Calvert-Lewin on the rare occasions that Everton pumped balls into the box for him.
Richarlison slid him into the box in the fifth minute only for Fraser Forster (£4.0m) to win the foot-race and clear the ball out with long, sweeping arms.
And in the 58th minute, Calvert-Lewin was inches from connecting with a ball into the box during the second phase of a free-kick.
In the 86th minute, Abdoulaye Doucouré (£5.2m) found himself with the opportunity to square for an unmarked Calvert-Lewin at the back-post but could not find his colleague. Other than that, he had mostly scraps to feed on.
A first start since Gameweek 13 for Allan (£5.2m) helped Everton maintain control of midfield for large portions of Monday night.
With the Brazilian operating in a three-man central trio alongside Doucouré and André Gomes (£5.3m), the Toffees seriously limited Southampton’s ability to do damage going forward.
It is also worth highlighting that two of Everton’s six clean sheets this season have come in Allan’s last three Premier League starts.
Still, it has not gone unnoticed how dreary Southampton’s attack has been of late.
Their Monday-night blank means the Saints, who did not muster a shot on target at Goodison Park until the 89th minute, have four goals across their last six matches, the second-worst in the division over the same period.
That bodes well for defensive assets set to face Ralph Hasenhüttl’s men between now and Gameweek 31, which includes Sheffield United, Manchester City, Brighton, Burnley and West Bromwich Albion.
Everton were without James Rodríguez (£7.7m), Seamus Coleman (£4.8m) and Tom Davies (£5.2m) against Southampton.
Ancelotti revealed before kick-off that each of them picked up training-ground knocks sufficient to earn a rest with an eye on their second Double Gameweek 26 fixture, a trip to West Bromwich Albion on Thursday.
“They had little problems in training this week so I prefer to give them a rest for the next game. We have a busy schedule, we play again on Thursday, but they will recover soon. They are really light problems.” – Carlo Ancelotti
As mentioned, Davies’ absence was mitigated with Allan’s return to the side, while Sigurdsson operated at number 10 in a 4-3-1-2 formation behind Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison.
Meanwhile, Ralph Hasenhüttl benched the out-of-form Alex McCarthy (£4.5m) for the first time in the Premier League this season, the shot-stopper only previously missing the Gameweek 17 win over Liverpool due to injury.
With Oriol Romeu (£4.5m) out for the season, wide-man Stuart Armstrong (£5.5m) had to sit in central midfield alongside James Ward-Prowse (£5.9m).
And the Saints’ ongoing shortages at right-back were laid bare by a second-half substitution. Jan Bednarek (£4.9m) started in that position but, when Hasenhüttl introduced Nathan Tella (£4.3m) for the struggling Salisu, he moved to centre-back and winger Moussa Djenepo (£5.4m) took over the wide defensive role.
Everton XI: Pickford; Digne, Godfrey, Keane, Holgate; Gomes (Iwobi 87′), Allan, Doucouré; Sigurdsson; Richarlison (J King 90+1′), Calvert-Lewin.
Southampton XI: Forster; Bertrand, Vestergaard, Salisu (Tella 62′), Bednarek; Djenepo, Armstrong, Ward-Prowse, Redmond (Watts 88′); Adams (N’Lundulu 77′), Ings.
Double Gameweek 26 so far…
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