The first of three fixtures today takes us to the South Coast as Southampton look to put an end to a run of results which has seen them fail to win any of their last three and as a consequence they currently find themselves 14th in the Premier League.
Today the play host to an Everton side that will undoubtedly be licking its wounds after a heavy defeat in midweek at the hands of Atalanta in the Europa League. They may have already been dumped out of the competition but the crushing home defeat that the were dealt will have done little to boost confidence on Merseyside,
Mauricio Pellegrino’s men have picked up just a solitary point from their last three matches while also losing back to back league matches to both Burnley and Liverpool. Not only that but they have failed to find the net in either of those losses.
They were soundly beaten at Anfield last weekend and if Virgil van Dijk was trying to put himself in the shop window for a potential move to Liverpool in the New Year then he did not really live up to the £60m price tag that has supposedly been put on his head.
That said none of the players representing Southampton that afternoon came away with any credit in what was undoubtedly an afternoon for Mauricio Pellegrino. There is just enough daylight between the Saints and the bottom three but they will have to start getting points on the board soon to make sure that stays the case.
A win today could see them move into the top half of the table and that changes the club’s outlook completely, not only that but it will just ease the pressure that is starting to build on the Argentinian who took Alaves to a Spanish Cup Final last season.
A lack of goals is a real issue at Southampton as they have only scored nine goals in their first 12 matches, an average of 0.75 goals. That is a metric that will certainly need to increase as the season progresses otherwise they will have scored just 29 goals come next May.
Everton have also been struggling with goals with Oumar Niasse their top goalscorer with five Premier League goals to his name, amazing to think this time last season he did not even have a squad number after Ronald Koeman told him to empty his locker.
They have certainly struggled to replace Romelu Lukaku after his departure to Manchester United in the Summer but Niasse has done the bulk of the workload, however he misses out the next two matches after being the first person to be given a two match ban for what ultimately boils down to conning the referee.
That ruling came after he went to ground in the draw against Crystal Palace last weekend in a challenge with Scott Dann, although Everton scored a Penalty that Leighton Baines tucked away with aplomb there was then a retrospective punishment handed down which means the Toffees have to do without their Senegalese forward.
They have struggled to find firepower and they have also struggled to name a new manager, the flirting with Watford boss Marco Silva has not led to the former Hull boss swapping Hertfordshire for Merseyside and a month after sacking Ronald Koeman their managerial situation is not resolved.
It is almost as if Farhad Moshiri sacked Koeman without having a back up plan and they are now the club find themselves in a sticky situation, one way or another they need to make some form of announcement just so everyone knows what direction they are going in.
The direction they would look to go is obviously up and a win would see them move up to 11th in the table and easing their plight, to be honest I think this one could well end up in a draw as neither team have a lot of goals in them this afternoon. A share of the points for me.
Here is what Social Media thinks will happen – you can still vote on the outcome
Time for some Sunday scientific polls now
— Dan Tracey (@dantracey1983) November 26, 2017