Just as the Bournemouth game was, Southampton is a must-win. We need to keep pace on the teams ahead of us, and losing to yet another relegation-level team is not going to help our cause, especially given that this period was supposed to be the ‘easy’ run.
That’s all too analytical for me, isn’t it. I know why you’re here.
I do not like Southampton. At all. I want so desperately for them to be relegated, and that was only amplified after they appointed Mark Hughes. They’re a club that was once the pre-eminent club on ‘how to come up from the Championship and survive’ but they have since lost all of their identity of buying younger players on lower wages, and have turned quite simply into a cesspool of overpaid, average has-been’s or never-will-be’s.
They’re not on the level of West Ham in my power rankings of hatred, but they’re on the cusp.
Just beat them. Nothing else Everton, just batter them.
GK - Jordan Pickford
As January passes, it looks like we aren’t going to be making any additions to the side. I still stand by the fact that we should be adding another goalkeeper, if Mr Silva doesn’t yet think that Joao Virginia is ready, as Pickford will eventually need relief and that cannot be from Stekelenburg.
RB - Jonjoe Kenny
Jonjoe remains our best right-back. He plays.
CB - Kurt Zouma
Zouma and Keane performed well last time out, and their game led to the lesser-spotted clean sheet for Pickford and the gang.
CB - Michael Keane
Michael looks like he is exiting the small rough patch he had been going through for the last few weeks, and is back to being the player we saw at the start of the season.
No point in changing a defensive partnership that kept a clean sheet.
LB - Lucas Digne
Among my very few accolades, I’ll always have the ‘possibly earliest adopter of the idea that Lucas Digne may well be the best left-back in Premier League football’ trophy sitting proudly on my wall.
What an incredible signing by Marcel Brands and Marco Silva.
CM - Leighton Baines
Idrissa Gueye’s debacle on Sunday afternoon did nothing to dissuade me from wanting the Leighton Baines experiment to begin. He needs to be in the side, as right now, we’re letting one of our most talented players waste his final years on the bench while too many are given a free ride.
CM - André Gomes
While we may not acquire anyone during the winter transfer window, making Gomes’ move permanent must still remain the number one priority.
RW - Bernard
Bernard on the right is a necessity at this point. We have too many on the left who cannot translate their game to the opposite flank, however Bernard seems to be okay with it.
LW - Ademola Lookman
Ademola Lookman had somewhat of a second breakout against Bournemouth, obviously following his debut against City those many moons ago.
He deserves a run in the side, which seems to be the phrase of the moment when it comes to both Lookman and Bernard recently, but it is merited.
ST - Richarlison
Richarlison up front is also a necessity, as quite simply, he is too good to leave out, regardless of a run of bad form or not.