Inside Track: Everton

By SFC Media time Wed 02 May Everton v Saints
Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Get the inside track on this weekend's opponents from Everton's Liverpool Echo reporter Phil Kirkbride.

What is your assessment of Everton’s season so far?

Disappointing. A seventh placed finish last term, and a record summer of spending, was meant to provide the platform for an assault on the top six, but unfortunately it hasn't happened like that.
Everton have recovered from a start to the season which cost Ronald Koeman his job but they have still fallen way below expectations.

The reverse fixture saw Saints win 4-1 at St Mary’s, has anything changed since then in terms of the tactical set-up?

Much has changed since that afternoon and four days later Sam Allardyce was installed as manager. Allardyce has his own way of approaching games which has meant Everton have picked up 33 points during his time but have hardly set the world alight doing so. Since the game at St Mary's, Everton have been able to welcome back Seamus Coleman and Yannick Bolasie from long-term injury and though Gylfi Sigurdsson is out, the club added Theo Walcott and Cenk Tosun in January. They have eight league goals between them.

How is this game being viewed by the Everton camp?

The season has been winding down for a number of weeks now, ever since the Blues reached the 40 point mark. But, as I'm sure you're aware, Everton's run-in has been far from harmonious with a growing wave of anti-Allardyce sentiment a visible and audible feature of matches recently.

Which players have been key in recent weeks?

Cenk Tosun has five goals in 10 starts since signing from Besiktas in January and set Everton on their way against Huddersfield with the opening goal. But the Blues' most consistent performer of the last few weeks has been Saints old-boy Morgan Schneiderlin who, after a nightmare season, is finishing strongly.

How do you see the game going this weekend?

Everton's home form is very good and Allardyce has picked up almost all of his 33 points in games against sides below Everton in the table. They should have enough to squeeze past Southampton.

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