Blues beaten in the first minute

By Michael Kenrick 27/11/2016  262 Comments  [Jump to last]

Gareth Barry returns to the starting line-up after serving a one-game ban last weekend
Southampton 1 - 0 Everton
Ronald Koeman stuck with his senior players for the game at Southampton, making just one change from last week as Gareth Barry replaced James McCarthy.

Barry returned after serving a one-match suspension last week against Swansea City, with McCarthy not on the bench. Jagielka retained his starting position as captain despite concerns over his form and an increasing number of mistakes. Deulofeu and Mirallas were benched with Lennon and Bolasie preferred despite poor performances from both players last week.

In stark contrast to Koeman's reluctance to use any of his young and well-performing Academy players, his old side gave a full debut to 19-year-old Josh Sims as one of six changes from the team that played in the Europa League on Thursday.

Everton kicked off but Southampton were at them like tigers and the ball was in the Everton net off a cross that Coleman chested down and set up nicely for young Sims, almost on the goalline but not offside, clipping the ball to Charlie Austin who had an easy last touch inside 40 seconds. Unbelievable statement of Everton's astounding lethargy and horrific defending.

The tempo of the game was far too lively for the Blues, pressed at every turn with challenges flying in, totally disrupting the slow and deliberate passing possession game Everton rely on. They did their best to settle, and Lennon got in a cross straight to Forster.

Everton resumed their slow passing game but the home side very effectively pressed them back and denied any ball into the Southampton area, the turnover coming eventually, with Redmond trying a cutback that was out of play.

Coleman pushed Redmond over a little too forcefully but the free-kick was punched out by Stekelenburg and then fired high by Højbjerg. The Saints were happy enough to slow things down a little and probe for an opening that came as Redmond picked out the diminutive Sims who could not get enough power on a free header to beat Stekelenburg.

Southampton were playing well and moving the ball around effectively, whereas by contrast, Barkley had a chance to run forward with it, played up to Lukaku blocked off by three players who easily stole it off him. Højbjerg had another pop from distance that flew a foot or two over the bar.

Everton did finally make an attempt on goal, Coleman getting to the byeline and pulling back well for Gueye whose atrocious shot will do his lousy goalscoring stats no good whatsoever.

A protracted session of pass the parcel around the back looked to release Barkley but his control let him down. Bolasie got to the edge of the area and spooned a lazy shot well wide, no real attempt to put it on target. Boalsie made amends stealing the ball back and combining well with Barkley to win a decent free-kick wide left. The ball was curled high by Baines and there was Barry at the far post, all alone underneath it, but inexplicably headed over when it looked easier to score.

Too many forward balls played vaguely in the direction of isolated Lukaku who had no chance of collecting any of them. Meanwhile, fast running by Redmond won a Southampton corner taken by Ward-Prowse and it caused havoc before being hacked way by Gana.

Everton got forward down the right but Coleman and Lukaku were outnumbered. The Blues tried a more central approach but Lukaku's pass back failed to find Barkley, and the ball was turned over for another speedy counter-attack by Southampton.

Williams and Austin had a little wrestle with each other. A more lively move started with Bolasie winning the ball back and putting in a good cross but Barkley was challenged and could only head it wide. Everton got a corner that came to Barkley, who laid it back for Gana, and another atrocious strike from the non-scoring midfielder — shameful really — bringing another shockingly poor half for the Blues to a painful end.

The early pattern of the second half was not too promising, the ball coming back to Stekelenburg twice for hoofs up-field that were repeatedly won back by Southampton. The ball did finally come to Bolasie but he could not get in a decent cross and Gana was fouled.

Southampton seemed to have so much more space and accurate passing as they surged forward and won an early corner, taken by Ward-Prowse, through a group of Blue statues, Højbjerg slashing it behind off the post. Sims then had a shot that Stekelenburg had to save.

Gana decided to run the ball in, a driving run stopped illegally on the edge of the area, Lukaku stepping up to take the set-piece that he lamely whacked well over the bar. Poor from the big man.

Gana gave away a free-kick for holding Højbjerg from behind. Bolasie picked up the ball and scampered forward, beating Van Dijk but he lashed the ball while stretching and it flew wide. Bolasie was showing more energy but Gana's ball to Coleman was horribly overhit, wasting the opportunity.

Then, the Saints made a fine cross from nothing, superbly headed by Austin, and superbly saved by Stekelenburg. Another home corner and Austin came very close to his second again. The hour mark... but no sign of any predictable subs by Koeman.

Better play finally saw a shot on gaol, an acrobatic one from Bolasie, straight at Forster. Deulofeu replaced Lennon, but Southampton still looked the more likely to score, Everton still looking lethargic. Baines shockingly mugged buy Sims who scampered down the other end but misplaced his final ball.

Bolasie tried to curl one in but it landed on the roof of the net. Mirallas then place Barkley who had had a rather poor game, not really expressing himself as we know he can. Redmond came close as time ticked away with Everton still trailing.

Jagielka did well to contain Redmond and dispossess him and the Blues got forward to p[play in a couple of better crosses but no attempt on goal. Bolasie was fouled by Højbjerg, the kick curled in by Baines, winning a corner that was headed away but Everton were finally applying something akin to pressure on the home side.

But at the other end, Sims got well forward, a fantastic cross clipped away by Baines, then a shot parried by Stekeklenburg, crossed for Austin to finish Everton off but he could only stab it wide.

A deep cross and a fantastic point-blank save by Stekelenburg. Bolasie scampered away from the corner but refused to pass to Deulofeu, then lost the ball cheaply. Mirallas got behind the defence and pulled back for Coleman but his shot on goal was blocked as Valencia came on for Baines, Koeman's final change.

The young Sims, who had run Everton ragged, and set up the goal from Austin, was withdrawn to a standing ovation from the home side. Everton attacked with more desire but equal end-product as the home side tired into the last 5 minutes.

Bolasie tried to make something from the left but Southampton were not going to give up easily and were always ready to push Everton back into their own half. Mirallas went on a run but could not cross effectively. Long replaced Austin.

Deulofeu pulled out an excellent cross from the left that Valencia headed inches wide. Stekelenburg launched a great ball fro Lukakau who played Mirallas in for a run at the Saints goal but his return ball was too far ahead of Lukaku and the chance evaporated. Jagielka defended well to contain long as it became more and more frenetic.

Jagielka lumped the ball forward and it came down to Barry but his shot was tamely driven at Forster. The whistle finally went and Everton were soundly beaten from the kick-off, despite the flattering 1-0 scoreline, because it could easily have been far worse. Koeman failing miserably to do the business with the players he has at his disposal.

Southampton: Forster; Cedric, Fonte, Van Dijk, Bertrand; Højbjerg, Romeu, Ward-Prowse; Redmond (79' Clasie), Sims (84' McQueen), Austin (89' Long).
Subs not Used: Taylor, Yoshida, Rodriguez, Reed.

Everton: Stekelenburg, Baines (82' Valencia), Jagielka (c), Williams, Coleman, Barry, Gana, Bolasie, Barkley (70' Mirallas), Lennon (65' Deulofeu), Lukaku.
Subs not Used: Robles, Cleverley, Funes Mori, Holgate.

Referee: Craig Pawson

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