Date: 28th December 2013 at 12:26pm
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Everton will be looking to rebound following a shock 1-0 loss to bottom side Sunderland as they host Southampton at Goodison Park on Sunday. As mentioned, the loss to Sunderland snapped Everton’s impressive unbeaten home streak in 2013 as well as ending their 10 game unbeaten streak in the league. Southampton also rebounded after a string of poor results as they crushed Cardiff 3-0 on Thursday. It is a massive game for both sides with Everton wanting the 3pts to keep in touch with the top 4 and for Southampton they will want to keep their chances for a European spot alive.

Vital Quotes:

Everton captain Phil Jagielka on the shock loss to Sunderland

Maybe that’s a little monkey off our backs and we can go out and play well on Sunday, get those three points and climb back up the table. Obviously we didn’t play very well in the first half and sort of shot ourselves in the foot with the goal we conceded. But it shows the character in the dressing room that we created quite a few decent chances and unfortunately for us we came up against a goalkeeper in some fantastic form. We certainly gave it a good go.

But it shows the character in the dressing room that we created quite a few decent chances and unfortunately for us we came up against a goalkeeper in some fantastic form. We certainly gave it a good go. Even after [Vito] Mannone saved the free-kick from Ross Barkley, I still felt we could create a couple more chances or half chances, which we did. But we just didn’t manage to get the ball over the line and in that the boys are disappointed.’

Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino on his sides festive period

‘I think we are thoroughly enjoying this period. We are getting paid to do what we enjoy. It is a busy period but we and the fans are enjoying this period. As someone who is passionate about football, this is a new experience for me but it is amazing and I am thoroughly enjoying it.’

Everton Team News:

In terms of injuries, there are no new fresh concerns for the Toffees, which means Mirallas, who was substituted with an illness should be fit for the match. However, the big concern is that Everton will be without keeper Tim Howard who will miss the match following his red card, also Gareth Barry will miss the match after he picked up his 5th yellow card of the season. Leighton Baines is expected to be in the squad to face Southampton after he missed the Sunderland match.

Possible Starting XI: Robles, Baines, Distin, Jagielka, Coleman, McCarthy, Osman, Mirallas, Pienaar, Barkley, Lukaku

Player to watch: Romelu Lukaku

After a blistering start to his loan spell at Everton, Lukaku has hit a brick wall in front of goals, the Belgian hasn’t scored in his last 5, and his performances have been less than impressive. For Everton to continue the form they have had to start the season, it is imperative for Lukaku to regain his goalscoring form and start banging them in again, starting against Southampton.

Southampton Team News:

The Saints also have no fresh injury concerns following to 3-0 win over Cardiff. However, they will miss influential midfielder Schneiderlin after he picked up his 5th yellow of the season. Defender Lovren will be assessed ahead of the match as he is struggling with an illness that forced him to miss the win over Cardiff. In some good news for the Saints, fullback Clyne and striker Osvaldo are set to return after missing the win against Cardiff. Boruc (hand), Wanyama (shin) and do Prado (knee) are the only definite absentees at this point.

Possible Starting XI: Gazzaniga, Shaw, Fonte, Yoshida, Clyne, Cork, Ward Prowse, Davis, Rodriguez, Lallana, Lambert

Player to watch: Adam Lallana

The lad is one of my favourite players, and he is a joy to watch, The heart and soul of this Saints side, the side seem to revolve around the boyhood Everton fan. Lallana has brilliant technique on the ball, can pick a pass and is a threat on goal and has been simply brilliant this season. The Everton midfield and the defence are going to have to monitor the positioning of Lallana very carefully because he shows excellent football IQ to get into terrific positions which makes him very dangerous.

Match Facts & Stats

1. The Sunderland loss on Boxing Day snapped a 17 game unbeaten streak at Goodison which dated back to December 2012.

2. Everton have not lost to Southampton in there 7 Premier League meetings, the Toffees have won 3 and drawn the other 4.

3. Everton have held the due over the Saints at Goodison Park, Southampton have only won once in their last 16 visits to Goodison.

4. Rodriguez has scored 7 goals in his last 10 matches in the league, with 5 of his last 6 goal coming away from home

5. Lambert has played a part in 9 goals (scored or assisted) in his last 10 games

Match Prediction:

The result was a massive disappointment for Everton, however, they still put in a very good performance especially when they went down to 10 men forcing 15 shots on goal in the 2nd half. It is vital for Everton to bounce back if they want to continue to be in the hunt for the Champions League places, however Southampton are going to pose an incredibly difficult test. The Saints, despite the recent results, have been playing really well and with the attacking threat they have, can cause trouble for this Everton side. I am going to sit on the fence and say a 2-2 draw with Barkley and Pienaar for Everton and Lallana ad Rodriguez for Southampton. COYB!! LETS BOUCNE BAKC BOYS AND GET THE 3PTS!!!