Everton make a long trip to the South Coast this afternoon to take on Southampton as the Premier League returns after the international break, and Frank Lampard will be hoping that his team can maintain their unbeaten run away from home.
Everton have drawn four and won one of their last five outings in the top flight and are currently sitting 13th, and picking up a win today could even see the Toffees break into the top half if results go their way.
In terms of injury news, Lampard has had a few disappointments over the break, with young right-back Nathan Patterson sustaining an ankle injury that will see him sidelined for around five weeks.
Not only that, the clash with Southampton may come too soon for Dominic Calvert-Lewin, as the manager has hinted that he is not willing to rush the striker back into the team in his pre-match press conference.
Lampard told the press:
“With Dominic, we’re working to make sure he comes back in the best fitness and strength for us, so we’ll see on that one.
“I think any player that has injuries and this sort of recurrence of injuries he’s had, it’s difficult to deal with because players want to play and they’re frustrated when they don’t play.”
There are two injury boosts, however, as James Garner is now match-fit and Jordan Pickford returns following an injury picked up in the Merseyside Derby.
With all considered, this is how we at Football FanCast expect Everton to line up against Southampton this afternoon…
We predict that Everton will make three changes to the team that beat West Ham United earlier this month, as Lampard keeps the main structure of his team consistent.
The first change we expect to see is goalkeeper Pickford reprising his role in goal after Asmir Begovic protected the net in his absence against David Moyes’ side.
The second is the return of Everton veteran Seamus Coleman, who will cover the right-back role whilst Patterson recovers from his injury. Lampard won’t be too worried about the effectiveness of the experienced player, as he has made 385 appearances for the club and is more than capable of holding the position.
The talented player who was hailed a “creative soul” by Juan Mata declared to Lampard that he wasn’t match-fit when he made the move to Goodison Park.
However, the manager has now said he is “ready to go” after featuring for England U21s this month, and it would come as no surprise if he replaces 33-year-old Idrissa Gana Gueye today in the starting lineup.
There is no doubt there is improved confidence and quality in the Everton team, so they’re in a great position to take a win away from St Mary’s this afternoon – and a victory would continue their fine form in the 2022/23 campaign so far.