The 2021/22 Premier League commences on Saturday, as Southampton head to Everton for their curtain raiser. Get set for the meeting at Goodison Park with our Match Pack...
Everton vs Southampton
Saturday 14th August, 3pm BST
Referee: Kevin Friend
Assistants: Adrian Holmes, Eddie Smart
Fourth official: Tony Harrington
VAR: Darren England
Assistant VAR: Dan Robathan
WHICH KIT WILL SAINTS BE WEARING?
For the season opener Saints will be in their red and white striped home kit, with black shorts and black socks.
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
Whilst the result of matchday one will provide little by way of context for the rest of the 2021/22 campaign, the opening day trip to Goodison Park does give Southampton the opportunity to get off on the right foot.
Ralph Hasenhüttl has outlined ahead of kick-off his desire to turn the tables on Saints’ first match jinx, with the club winning just one of their last 14 opening day Premier League matches.
With Everton under new management in the form of Rafa Benitez and the visitors boasting up to four debutants, both sides will be eager to register an instant three points and build some early momentum.
After missing the majority of pre-season with a knee injury, Saints have been given a boost by the availability of captain James Ward-Prowse.
The midfielder returned to training at the start of the week and the manager confirmed his availability, meaning his two-season-long, ever-present appearance streak could continue.
Newest signings Armando Broja and Adam Armstrong are both available, although will likely provide an option from the bench if called upon.
Will Smallbone is the only absentee as he continues his recovery from a long-term injury.
Everton face a selection headache in attack, with Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Moise Kean both doubts due to injury, while Richarlison may not be risked after missing pre-season because he played in the Copa America and Olympics.
Rafa Benitez: To follow.
Ralph Hasenhüttl: “If you have a good start, you always create a negative atmosphere for the home team. It’s always helpful to have a good start.
“Carlo Ancelotti was very popular in Everton but it’s not for us to discuss their problems or issues, we just concentrate on our situation. It’s ages ago since Southampton won their first game in the Premier League, so it’s time to turn the tables around.”
ONES TO WATCH
James Rodríguez: With Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison absent from pre-season, the pressure will be on Rodríguez to produce in the final third on Saturday.
Adjusting to life in the Premier League last season, the Colombian will look to rediscover the form that entertained crowds at the Bernabéu for several years.
Nathan Tella: The Academy graduate became a valuable part of Southampton’s attack last season and will be looking to kick on in 2021/22.
With an impressive pre-season under his belt – providing two assists and getting on the score sheet once – the 22-year-old will be looking to impress the manager from the off with fierce competition for places up front.
2020/21 statistics inclusive of all competitions
Dominic Calvert-Lewin 21
Gylfi Sigurdsson 8
Gylfi Sigurdsson 10
James Rodríguez 8
Lucas Digne 7
Danny Ings 13
Ward-Prowse, Adams 9
James Ward-Prowse 7
Stuart Armstrong 6
Ché Adams 5
HEAD TO HEAD
LAST FIVE MEETINGS
March 2021: Everton 1-0 Saints
October 2020: Saints 2-0 Everton (Ward-Prowse, Adams)
July 2020: Everton 1-1 Saints (Ings)
November 2019: Saints 1-2 Everton (Ings)
January 2019: Saints 2-1 Everton (Ward-Prowse, Digne OG)
DID YOU KNOW?
- James Ward-Prowse was directly involved in 15 goals for Southampton in the Premier League last season, recording both his most goals (eight) and most assists (seven) in a single campaign in the competition.
- Four players could make their Southampton debuts tomorrow, with Romain Perraud, Tino Livramento,Armando Broja and Adam Armstrong all arriving over the summer.
KEEP UP TO DATE
We’ve got you covered! We’ll bring you all of the action from Goodison Park, as well as a host of behind-the-scenes access.
Check out our interactive match centre at southamptonfc.com, with all of the live in-game updates and free audio commentary of the match, and be sure to follow us on social media for further updates and exclusive content: