We are only four months into the season, but this weekend’s clash between two of the Premier League’s greatest strugglers – Southampton and Everton – is already being viewed a six-pointer.
Just three points separate the two sides heading into Saturday’s match at St Mary’s, with the Toffees narrowly head of Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side after rescuing a late point at home to Tottenham on Sunday afternoon.
Southampton have lost five of their last six league games, taking a single point from a potential 18 in the top-flight since mid-September. Their season hit a new low last week when they were humiliated by Leicester City on home soil, losing 9-0 to the Foxes.
However, a promising display against Manchester City in the Premier League on Saturday – where the southerners took the lead in the first-half through James Ward-Prowse – has restored a slight bit of faith among players and fans of the Hampshire outfit.
Midfielder Oriol Romeu knows the importance of this weekend’s clash, labelling it as ‘crucial’ in a recent interview with the Daily Echo.
“It’s going to be crucial. It’s going to be massive,” said the Spaniard.
“We’ve put ourselves in a situation now where we must win against Everton and that’s the key to giving us a good situation afterwards.
“Playing at home, we want to have a better feeling because the last game was awful. It wasn’t good at all.
“We want to win to have a connection with the fans and give them also positive feelings from the first minute.
“Everton aren’t doing very well and if we can put them under pressure early one, then we can have a good game.”
Saints have not won at home all season, with their last victory at St Mary’s coming all the way back in April, when they defeated Wolves 3-1 thanks to goals from Nathan Redmond (2) and Shane Long (via Soccerway).
It goes without saying what a vital match this is for Southampton. After such a poor performance against Leicester, they showed good character to battle right to the death against Manchester City away from home – narrowly losing 2-1 after a late goal from Kyle Walker.
The Saints’ home record is abysmal, though they have a great opportunity to change their fortunes and really kick-start their campaign with a win against the Toffees on Saturday.
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