Inconsistent Everton host out-of-form Southampton on Monday night, and Mike Norman believes the Toffees can put an end to their poor run of form at Goodison Park...
"The Saints have a dreadful record at Goodison Park, not winning there for 16 matches, and they're currently on a run of four straight away defeats in the league, conceding an alarming 17 goals in the process."
Everton v Southampton
Monday 1 March, 20:00
Live on Sky Sports
Toffees in sticky patch of form at Goodison
Everton's excellent Merseyside derby win over Liverpool last weekend has kept them firmly in the hunt for European qualification, and they'll go into Monday night's clash against Southampton seventh in the table, five points behind West Ham in fourth, and with two games in hand on every team above them.
That's the good news, the bad news is that Carlo Ancelotti's men have been in very poor form at Goodison Park recently having collected just a single point from their last five Premier League home games, including defeats without scoring to lowly Newcastle (17th) and Fulham (18th).
The defeat to the Cottagers was particularly worrying as Everton were dreadful in that game, though the performance more than hinted at a psychological problem rather than anything else with Ancelotti's men perhaps taking Fulham for granted, believing they just had to turn up to win. We all know it never happens like that.
The Toffees are more than capable of performing well on home soil, as evidenced in wins over Tottenham, Arsenal and Chelsea this season, but it just seems that - like most teams during this campaign - inconsistency has become their biggest downfall.
Everton at their best are a tough nut to crack however, and most definitely a Top 4 Finish contender, for which they can be backed at 11.010/1.
Ancelotti has virtually a clean bill of health for Monday night's game with only Yerry Mina definitely ruled out among the players who feature regularly. Dominic Calvert-Lewin is expected to start after returning from injury as a substitute in the win over Liverpool last week.
Saints not exactly marching on
You have to go back to early November to find Southampton's highlight of the season, a win over Newcastle taking them to the top of the Premier League table for the first time in their history.
It's all been downhill since then however with Ralph Hasenhuttl's men winning just three times in 17 league matches (W3-D5-L9), a run that has seen them drop to 14th in the table and completely out of the running to qualify for Europe.
Perhaps even more worrying for Saints fans is the form of their team in 2021. Since beating Liverpool at the start of the year Southampton have gone on a run of eight league games without a win, collecting just a single point from a possible 24, and of course, included in that sequence of results was the 9-0 thrashing at Old Trafford.
On a more encouraging note, the Saints have advanced to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup with wins over Arsenal and Wolves recently, and they did perform well in a 1-1 draw with Chelsea last weekend. A midweek drubbing by Leeds however gives the impression that, overall, this is a team performing way below their best currently.
Hasenhuttl is encountering a mini injury crisis at St Mary's with key midfielder Oriol Romeu ruled out for the rest of the season, while Takumi Minamino picked up a thigh injury in the defeat to Leeds in midweek and is likely to join Kyle Walker-Peters, Theo Walcott and Ibrahima Diallo on the sidelines.
Price on a home win appeals
I'm a little surprised that we can back Everton at 2.245/4 to win this game. Given their recent win over Liverpool, in addition to Southampton's dreadful league form, I was expecting a shorter price in all honesty and therefore I have to put them up as the selection in the Match Odds market.
Undoubtedly the Toffees' poor recent home form is factored into their win price but there arguably isn't a better team for Everton to be facing right now than Southampton.
The Saints have a dreadful record at Goodison Park, not winning there for 16 matches, and they're currently on a run of four straight away defeats in the league, conceding an alarming 17 goals in the process.
Goals market a tough one to call
The Over/Under 2.5 Goals market looks about right, with the layers just favouring 'Unders' at 1.910/11.
In games where there isn't a massive gap between the two teams in terms of ability, the first question you should always ask yourself when assessing this market is do you expect both sides to get on the scoresheet?
If your answer is yes then you should be looking to back 'Overs' at around 2.111/10, if your answer is no then you should be swaying towards 'Unders' as it's more unlikely than not that one team will score at least three goals on their own in a game you expect to be relatively close.
You can make strong arguments for both outcomes ahead of this game so apologies for sitting on the fence and admitting I simply can't call it.
Bertrand set for a tough night?
Away from the main markets you might want to consider Southampton left-back Ryan Bertrand to be shown a card at 10/3 on the Sportsbook.
The Saints defender is one of his team's worst sinners when it comes to being booked this season, and from his last 14 matches alone he has five yellow cards to his name. He's sure to face a very difficult night against Everton's world class attacking midfielder James Rodriguez, who will undoubted drift to the right and give Bertrand a few headaches.
*You can follow me on Twitter: @MikkyMo73