Everton go down to the south coast this weekend to take on a solid Southampton who are enjoying a purple patch, having picked up five points in three games against Manchester City, Tottenham and Manchester United in recent weeks.
The Blues will be feeling resurgent themselves with new manager Frank Lampard’s high pressing style having reaped rewards in big wins against Brentford and Leeds United at home. However, the Toffees struggled with the new style under pressure at Newcastle, and can expect a similar test at a quick Saints side that presses much like Leeds do but with a 4-2-2-2 formation.
Speaking during his pre-match press conference, Lampard provided an injury update on his squad. Despite Abdoulaye Doucoure being spotted back in training earlier today, the midfielder will not be available this weekend.
“[Vitalii] Mylokenko is back but Demarai Gray won’t quite make it this weekend, we’re hopeful for the following week.
“[Abdoulaye] Doucoure trained with us today in his first integration into a proper session so hopefully over the next week we can see a strong progression for him to be available for the following week.
“Ben Godfrey is getting closer. Hopefully we’re on schedule at least for that which means maybe two or three weeks. Yerry Mina is a bit longer, he’s just starting the process.
“Fabian Delph is similar to Ben Godfrey, we’re hopeful for two or three weeks for those two.”
It will be interesting to see if Lampard rolls the same lineup he went with last weekend, but the manager acknowledged that traveling away from Goodison against a very different opponent would likely affect his decision.
“That’s my choices and my thought process through this week. There’s an argument for going same again, we kind of felt similarly going into Newcastle but that didn’t quite work out, so it’s not a statement of fact.
“The players have to feel through the week that they can find a way into the team. We need to change our approach for the opposition, Leeds to Southampton, two very good teams in lots of different ways, so I’ll consider that.
“The good thing is we have lots of good players that are hungry to get in the team, and that’s exactly the environment we want.”