Everton will be without both Gareth Barry and Tim Howard for the visit of Southampton due to suspensions picked up on Boxing Day. The goalkeeper, Howard, was given the straight red while Barry picked up his fifth yellow of the season.
Leighton Baines may be returning to the team after being out with a broken toe. The biggest change, however, will of course come with the inclusion of Joel Robles in the Everton goal.
Although it isn’t his Premiership debut, at 23 years old it certainly will be a test for the young man who was on loan with Roberto Martinez at Wigan last season. On March 17 Robles started for Wigan against Newcastle, made eight league appearances and was in the FA Cup winning side, keeping a clean sheet against Manchester City.
Under Martinez, Everton has been storming up the league and even with the defeat on Thursday the side looked great. Playing with only ten men the side still dominated the game, and that alone would have the fans’ confidence up as they now face a different challenge.
Southampton, on the other hand, will look to make it two wins on the bounce when the final whistle blows. The win away to Cardiff on Thursday was a much-needed lift for Mauricio Pochettino‘s side who had not won in the previous five.
I am sure Southampton will right the ship and get to playing some of the football which saw them race to the top half of the table, but I do not think it will be this game.
Jason Bardwell is a Soccer writer for Rant Sport. You can follow him on Twitter @PACityboy or on www.facebook.com/jasonbardwell1979.