"Must do better" was probably the phrase of the day last Saturday, as Everton only managed a 2-2 draw to newly promoted Watford. Everton allowed the visitors to dictate the tempo for most of the game, allowing the Hornets to take a lead after just 14 minutes. The visitors held on for a considerable amount of time and just as much as it was to the eventual efforts of Everton, I also believe Watford's flagging fitness levels contributed to Ross Barkley's equalizer in the 76th minute. And although the goal to make it 1-1 was out of the top drawer from Barkley, it's worrying that it took nearly 80 minutes of the game to respond.
The way we dominated games in Martinez's first season was by going at teams from the first minute. Taking instant control of the game, not just through possession but through chance creation, shots on target, pressure on the ball and tempo whilst on and off the ball. We more or less have the players we had in Roberto's first season, that's why I'm baffled as to how we're not playing the same brand of football.
Anyway, Onto Southampton.
When: Saturday, August 15th at 12:45pm.
How to watch: The game will be shown live on BT Sport in the UK, the programme begins on BT Sport 1HD at 12:00pm. The match will also be streamed in the US on NBC Sports extra from 7.00am ET.
Team News: The main injury concern going into the game is Kevin Mirallas. The Belgian picked up a nasty knock to his left ankle after a late challenge during the second half of last week's game. Although Mirallas continued, he was withdrawn 10 minutes later. Gerard Deulofeu, Muhamed Besic and Aiden McGeady are back in training and in contention for Saturday's game. Leighton Baines is out for three months, meaning Bryan Oviedo and Brendan Galloway will compete for the vacant left-back slot.
Expected line-up: (4-2-2-1-)
I can't see the manager changing the side unless either Besic or Deulofeu come back into the side from injury. If Deulofeu is fit for the game I think we could see the same formation but with one of the further forward of the two central midfielders pushing out to wing positions. This would allow Deulofeu to play on the right and Mirallas to play on the left, with Barkley playing in the central attacking midfield role.
What to watch for:
This one is dependent on the players that are available. If Deulofeu is declared fit, then he and Mirallas will be the ones to watch. Their natural width provide us with the attacking threat we need. At the moment we're all too central, everything comes down the middle, so a release down the wings would have greater impact for our attack.
Otherwise, Tom Cleverley will be a key for us in central midfield. During the Watford game he shared the responsibilities of defence and attack well with James McCarthy and Gareth Barry. Cleverley created some good opportunities and took us forward well.
Southampton have a couple of players that can cause any team difficulties so keeping a lid on their striker Graziano Pelle and central midfield Dusan Tadic will be key to us coming away with something from the game.
Well, my heart says a 2-1 Everton win and I do believe its possible with the right tactics going into the game. However, my head is saying another draw, 1-1. I think we'll start the game a lot more positively than we did against Watford, taking a lead, but eventually slowing up and getting comfortable with our lead we will concede into the second half.