Shambolic Everton in free-fall after Saints drubbing

Sunday 26 November 2017  0 Comments  [Jump to last]
Southampton 4 - 1 Everton

Gylfi Sigiurdsson scored another beauty but it was otherwise another hopelessly poor display from Everton

Everton's alarming decline gathered pace at St Mary's Stadium as their defence collapsed again precipitating another heavy defeat

Caretaker boss David Unsworth was hoping for a positive reaction to Thursday's 5-1 thrashing at the hands of Atalanta but he watched another torrid defensive performance as Southampton exploited the Blues' weaknesses at the back to register their biggest win of the season so far.

Dusan Tadic's strike on the break looked to have set the home side on their way to victory as Everton yet again conceded the first goal but a brilliant goal from Gylfi Sigurdsson levelled matters going into the half-time interval.

The visitors conceded two soft headed goals to Charlie Austin early in the second half and Simon Davis scored a late fourth with very little in between from a dispirited Everton side to signal they were capable of mounting another comeback.

Unsworth made eight changes from the side that started on Thursday night, with Leighton Baines, Phil Jagielka, Jordan Pickford, Idrissa Gueye, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Aaron Lennon, Sigurdsson and Morgan Schneiderlin returning to the side.

Beni Baningime and Sandro Ramirez dropped back to the bench while Oumar Niasse and Tom Davies were suspended.

Southampton started the stronger of the two sides, establishing the pattern of home dominance that would persist throughout the match.

Austin smashed over when he might have done better from a good position and then struck the base of the post with a first-time effort after Cedric had out-muscled Sigurdsson and whipped a dangerous cross in from the Saints' right flank.

Openings at the other end were rare but Kevin Mirallas let himself down with a poor touch that saw a tremendous chance go begging.

The counter-attack that followed, though, saw Southampton lance through Everton's midfield and defence where Tadic slipped the ball past the challenge of Baines and the advancing Pickford to make it 1-0 after 17 minutes.

Unable to keep the ball or mount any sort of sustained attack, the Toffees were struggling to keep pace in the game and their cause was weakened further when Baines was forced off through injury, forcing Unsworth to introduce Ashley Williams and deploy Lennon and Jonjoe Kenny as wingbacks.

The change briefly seemed to help but Southampton remained on top and had strong appeals for a penalty for handball against Keane waved away by referee Kevin Friend.

Everton needed something special to get back on terms and it came from their record signing. Picking the ball up outside the box at the end of the first half, Sigurdsson took a touch wide of his marker and lashed a dipping shot in off the crossbar, onto the goal line, back off the bar and into the net.

Unsworth's men were back on the defensive, however, and in arrears again seven minutes into the second half. Ryan Bertrand was allowed to cross from the right where Austin lost Keane to plant an impressive header past Pickford.

The same Saints duo combined with depressing familiarity six minutes later, with neither Keane or Williams anywhere near Austin who headed home again to extend the hosts lead.

Unsworth's belated response saw Mirallas depart in favour of Ademola Lookman but while the youngster was a willing runner with the ball at his feet, he was often forced to go it alone in the face of an emboldened Southampton back line.

An injury to Keane saw Jagielka return to central defence alongside Williams and Nikola Vlasic come on but apart from wayward shots by Sigurdsson and Gueye, there was nothing in terms of attempts on goal from Everton and they would fall 4-1 behind before the end.

Davis survived appeals of handball before setting himself and curling an unstoppable shot past Pickford to cap a miserable afternoon for the Blues and their sold-out away section.

Four more goals against means that Everton haven't conceded this many by this stage of the season for almost 60 years, underscoring the desperate need to finalise the search for a new permanent managerial appointment and some long, hard work in trying to shore up a desperately porous back line.

Full details: ToffeeWeb Match Page