Poor Southampton run set to continue when Everton visit

SOUTHAMPTON’S surprisingly strong start to the season has come off the rails in recent weeks after five successive losses. While Ronald Koeman can point to a horrible run of fixtures that took in Manchester City, Arsenal and Manchester United, the two latest defeats to Burnley and League One Sheffield United in the League Cup are harder to explain.

The Saints face a tough ask to get back to winning ways at home to Everton tomorrow. The resurgent Toffees have put behind them an indifferent run of form at the start of the campaign to climb up to 10th.

The two reverses in their last eight league games have been away at the hands of Tottenham and Man City ─ both matches Roberto Martinez probably feels his men could have taken at least a point from. His team’s defence has plugged the leaks that plagued them initially and early October was the last time they conceded twice in a game.

Martinez will expect that solid backline to hold out tomorrow with Southampton scoring just once in their last five. Only the division’s top three and Arsenal have outscored Everton and, in Romelu Lukaku and Steven Naismith, they have real danger men.

Southampton’s defence is still the joint-best in the league, though, so total goals buyers at 2.65 with Sporting Index should tread carefully.

The hosts won this fixture 2-0 last season which ended a sequence of eight matches without a win against these rivals. But I can’t have them here with their sparkle missing and confidence at such a low point.

The visitors to St Mary’s may have to work hard if they are to gain their third win on the road this term, but can prove up to the task. Selling Southampton’s supremacy at 0.25 with Sporting Index looks value as even a draw will return a small profit.

The 1-0 away win is available at 19/2 with a few bookmakers and that’s a fair price in what should be a really interesting match-up with both clubs harbouring European ambitions.

■ Pointers…
Sell Southampton supremacy at 0.25 with Sporting Index
Everton 1-0 at 19/2 general