Everton travel south on Saturday to try to extend Southampton's string of losses and begin a winning streak of their own. The teams meet at what Evertonians hope is an upswing for the 2014/15 campaign, while Ronald Koeman's squad is experiencing a downturn after an excellent start to the season.
Kevin Mirallas' ankle injury is not serious enough to miss a significant amount of time, but he will miss the Southampton match. Everton manager Roberto Martinez announced that Tony Hibbert and Leon Osman will also miss the trip to face the Saints.
Gareth Barry will return to the team after serving his suspension. Darron Gibson and James McCarthy will be assessed ahead of the match. Of Gibson and McCarthy, Martinez said: "It's a 50-50 situation for both players for Saturday."
Southampton enter Saturday's match in fifth place despite five straight losses across all competitions. Those five losses did come at the hands of heavyweights Manchester City, Arsenal, and Manchester United, but the last two were to Burnley and third-tier Sheffield United.
The news doesn't get any better for Southampton fans as team-leading goalscorer Graziano Pelle is recovering from injury and could miss the Everton match. Midfielder Steven Davis is also doubtful, according to Koeman. Florin Gardos, Morgan Schneiderlin, and Victor Wanyama are all suspended and won't play against the Blues.
What to Watch For
Southampton surprised everyone when they vaulted into second place in the Premier League. But now the team from the southern coast are in free fall and desperate for a result against Everton. Koeman may have to call on players from the famed academy to take the place of the numerous injured and suspended on the first team, and Everton must take advantage.
Look for Ross Barkley to try to pick up where he left off against QPR and get forward, regardless of Martinez's positioning. With Mirallas out, Barkley and the newly-extended Steven Naismith should be just behind Romelu Lukaku, searching for an early goal that could further dishearten an already-discouraged Southampton side.
Barry will be back in the defensive midfield, most likely pairing with last week's Man of the Match Muhamed Besic. The pair will have their hands full with Pelle if he is fit enough to play.
Time and TV Info
15:00 GMT, 10am EST
TV and stream info (via livesoccertv.com)
The Final Word
Everton have had trouble getting wins against weakened or inferior sides this season. Though this should be three points for the Toffees, I'm predicting a 1-1 draw. Disagree? Vote in our poll or tell us why below.