Everton 2-1 Saints
Both Kelvin Davis and Lovren returned for the trip to Everton, which was just as well given the problems Lukaku gave the Saints defence last year; more of him later.
A big blow was not having Schneiderlin, with disciplinary points finally catching up with him – along with Wanyama’s extended absence, that leaves a big gap in midfield, and Everton used it well in the first half.
They took the lead when Coleman exploited the defensive naiveties of Shaw and Ward-Prowse in one of several powerful runs from right back, and on this occasion he was also able to fire a fine shot past Davis.
Southampton’s efforts to get back on terms were sporadic, but an exchange of passes between Lambert and Lallana ended with a hurried shot from the latter which went just wide. Saints began to dominate possession after the break, but opportunities remained elusive, with an unwillingness to shoot on sight adding to fans’ frustrations.
However, the team have a style which they stuck to, and their attacking options increased when Cork was withdrawn after a booking and Ramirez came on. That was on 65 minutes, and the Uruguayan was immediately prominent, and eventually rewarded with a spectacular equaliser – a shot which seemed to contain Mitchell Johnson’s reverse swing and which was dealt with by stand-in ‘keeper Robles with all the expertise of an England batsman.
At that stage Saints had won the tactical battle, but Everton were soon able to move the ball forward swiftly and McCarthy fed Lukaku who scored efficiently, having eluded his normally attentive markers.
Saints had quite reasonable appeals for a penalty for handball turned down, a decision that seemed to infuriate Lallana at the time and Sr. Pochettino afterwards.
The manager thinks referees take advantage of the team’s good nature, and that may explain Lallana’s continual dialogue with Mr. Clattenburg throughout the game – however, there’s usually only one outcome from that attitude, and sure enough an unnecessary caution ensued… as it had for Ramirez, who not only removed his shirt after scoring, but gave it away to a scouse youngster (who probably doesn’t have a huge collection of red kit).
LSSC Man of the Match: Jack Cork, despite his early withdrawal.