Carlo Ancelotti should ruthlessly axe Seamus Coleman at home to Southampton, as the Everton defender could prove to be invisible on Monday night.
The full-back returned to the Toffees’ starting line-up for last weekend’s 2-0 Merseyside derby win over rivals Liverpool, having come on to replace the injured Yerry Mina against title-chasers Manchester City three days prior.
Last Saturday’s victory at Anfield marked only Coleman’s 10th Premier League start of the season so far, having struggled to regain his position from centre-half Mason Holgate following two spells out with a hamstring issue.
Coleman earned rave reviews for his performance on the red side of Stanley Park, having eliminated the attacking threat posed by Liverpool star Andrew Robertson, who is widely seen to be one of the best left-backs in world football.
Former Reds defender Jim Beglin was particularly impressed by Coleman’s game, and lavished his fellow Republic of Ireland native with praise for sacrificing his individual performance for Everton’s greater good.
“I loved the way Seamus Coleman sacrificed his game to just take Andy Robertson. I think Andy Robertson got one cross in which led to a header, and that was it during the game. It’s not easy to subdue somebody like him because he is just non-stop,” Beglin told Football Pass.
Robertson ranks fifth in the Premier League for accurate crosses (1.7) and second for inaccurate deliveries (6.5) per game by any player this season, per WhoScored. The 26-year-old was held to one accurate effort from four attempts during the Merseyside derby.
Yet Ancelotti should now ruthlessly axe Coleman for Monday’s clash with Southampton, despite a praise-worthy performance against Liverpool from the £70,000-per-week full-back.
The Italian tactician will not need the same defensive resilience at Goodison Park that he needed at Anfield, and can move away from the five-at-the-back favoured against Jurgen Klopp’s defending Premier League champions with a return to only four defenders.
Throughout the 2020/21 top-flight campaign, Ralph Hasenhuttl’s Saints have focused 41% of their overall attacks on the left-hand channel, but their creativity often comes from the opposing flank once sides become stretched.
James Ward-Prowse offers more key passes per game (1.6) in the league this term than any other St Mary’s resident, while Stuart Armstrong (1.1) and Che Adams (1) rank in the top-three while often playing as the right-sided options, per WhoScored.
Even with centre-half Jan Bednarek replacing £12m summer signing Kyle Walker-Peters at right-back due to a hamstring injury, only one of Southampton’s four shots against Chelsea came from players who started the game on the left side of the field earlier this month.
It was a similar story last time out against Leeds United, with nine of the Saints’ 13 efforts coming from right-sided players – including Armstrong (3) with the joint-most.
Liverpool loanee Takumi Minamino, who scored Southampton’s opener in last week’s 1-1 draw with Chelsea from left-midfield, will additionally be absent at Goodison Park, with the 26-year-old nursing a muscle injury.
So, especially without Minamino, the Saints will again be expected to lean on their right-sided options away to Everton, which could leave Coleman an invisible figure on the opposing wing come Monday.