The second game of the season for Everton sees a long journey down south to face Southampton at St Mary’s Stadium. Southampton had a great last season and will be hoping to have similar success this season. Last week the Saints began with a 2-2 share of the spoils with Newcastle and will now be looking for their first win in their first home game of 15/16.
We took to SaintsWeb Forum to ask their loyal supporters some questions on themselves and the Toffees.
1. What is your opinion on your manager Ronald Koeman? What are his good points and what are his bad points?
benjii: Good – calm and unflappable. Renowned figure in the game. Tactically quite flexible (the reverse of which is probably a valid criticism of Pochettino
Bad – renowned figure in the game; will no doubt get offers from some very big clubs if he continues to do well.
Colinjb: I think the bloke is bloody fantastic. I worried we had run out of steam a little at some points last year and that did make me question his man-management capability but on the whole excellent.
Saint Matty 76: Best manager we’ve had in my personal lifetime, also the most successful. Can’t see him sticking here for too long but he’s changed the club for the greater and seems to be an absolutely top bloke as well. Can’t think of too many negatives either which is mental these days.
Le Goddard: A great and well respected manager who is v down to earth. He likes Mayonnaise.
2. You have made 8 signings so far this summer, who are the ones to look out for?
UpweySaint: Cedric at RB will spend most of his time in the oppo half and has a good cross on him, Clasie looks like a very good long term prospect but, by all accounts, is not up to speed yet.
The9: Stekelenburg has been outstanding so far on the few occasions he’s been troubled, behind a less than stellar defence still missing Alderweireld and Schneiderlin’s influence. Cedric is already showing signs of being a more than adequate Clyne replacement and Romeu and Clasie might help with shoring up in front the previously strong defence. Juanmi might have an upside but hasn’t played much yet, and Rodriguez, as the cliche goes, is like a new signing after 16 months out.
hypochondriac: It’s early days so far. Soares looks great attacking but maybe needs to work on his defending a bit. I’m excited to see what Juanmi can do. Most of the signings look solid and as always with us it’s about the team rather than any particular player.
benjii: In the long term, Classie and Juanmi are both highly rated young players but will probably need a certain “bedding in” period.
In the shorter term, Cedric is a very attacking right back. He looks exciting but the jury is out on how he copes with Premier League defending.
I’m pleased with the signing of Romeu – we’ve effectively signed Wanayama’s replacement for when he leaves next summer.
Not strictly a new signing but, after missing a whole season, it will be interesting to see how Jay Rodriguez does this season. In terms of attributes, he has pretty much everything so let’s hope he can back to top form.
3. Who will be the key threats to Everton at the weekend?
Special K: Mane. Quick and tricky, especially against inexperienced or older defenders. If he’s on his game, most PL defenders have a real job on their hands. Pelle is strong and Tadic is good when on form. Big Vic will nail Barkley.
saint1977: Pelle’s ability in the air – as demonstrated last Sunday. He’s begun the season brightly, netting twice in Europe so far as well. Long is a livewire and ended last season well and has got a couple in the bag so far this term. Not prolific but quick and direct. J Rod will take time to get some match fitness under his belt but could be a devastating sub. Sadio Mane is another forward with rapid pace but has added unpredictability – if he continues to improve his finishing (should have scored a winner at SJP), he’ll be our first £30m+ sale. Our drawback is a lack of goals from midfield.
llyodie: Mane. If he is on form, he can grab a couple at least from almost out of nothing. Bigger clubs may come for him next summer.
4. Where will be your weak points?
Saint Matty 76: Maya Yoshida and Matt Targett (CB & LB)
Beckenham Saint: Left Back. With Bertrand out injured, Targett (despite being very good) is not quite there yet and Rodriguez didn’t help defensively enough against Newcastle so he was left a little exposed.
Colinjb: Defence. We really miss Alderweireld and Morgan, without their presence we have looked a little less then water-tight.
5. What are your season ambitions?
Le Goddard: For most i think it’s top 10 and a good run in Europe. To finish above Liverpool and Spurs
Special K: Realistic – Top 10, good cup run and good Europa League run past the group stage. Ambitious – Top 6, Cup win and SF of Europa.
Colinjb: I would bite your hands off for a cup final. I have no expectation on being top 7 again but would be disappointed to be outside of the top half.
On to Everton…
6. After a great first season under Martinez and disappointing second, how do you think Everton will do this season?
saint1977: Hard to say, your manager has said you are probably 3-4 faces short and I’d agree although you should be top 10 even so. Baines being missing is a big blow for you but Lukaku is always a threat as is Mirallas. Barkley should improve after a noticeable dip last term. What Everton need is a better screen in front of the back 4 – the more open style worked a treat in Roberto’s first season but teams starting working Everton out and Watford made late runs look easy last week. I’m not suggesting returning to the Moyes era but there is a balance between being attractive but harder to score against.
llyodie: Not sure, I like Martinez but also can see that he benefited from the solid defensive organisation that Moyes left you behind in his 1st season. To then going back to a similar defensive shape and the issues that come with that from his time at Wigan – but at least you no longer have Alcaraz. Can see US and you lot fighting for similar spots within the top 10.
Upwey Saint: 8th. Everton have some real quality and underperformed last year but I fear you lack depth, particularly in defence.
7. What do you make of our manager Roberto Martinez?
Beckenham Saint:I like him, although I don’t think he’ll ever go on to become a top, top manager. Has always done OK wherever he’s been, and showed he could get a team to the right end of the league in his first season with you, but before that he’s never set the world alight and only has a 40% win rate as a manager in 8 years of managing .
benjii: Seems like a nice guy but the big question mark over him is whether his teams can defend at the highest level. In his first season at Everton that didn’t seem a problem but maybe that was Moyes’ legacy which is now faded….
hypochondriac: I’ve always quite liked him. Tries to play football in the right way and seems to be quite a likeable chap. Could do with setting his defence up better though…
8. Who do you see as the biggest threat to the Saints in the Everton side?
The9: Lukaku, more on reputation than ability in the past year though. Deulofeu looked decent when he was on loan before so could be a problem if he gets up to speed quickly.
lloydie: Lukaku. I remember when he played against us at St.Mary’s for WBA and tore us a new one. I’m glad that player didnt turn up last season but there’s always the chance he could destroy someone like Yoshida with their respective sizes.
colinjb: Barkley is obvious, Lukaku on form can bully Yoshida and Fonte. Also, Seamus Coleman for some reason seems to love playing against us.
9. Where do you see our weaknesses?
Special K: Defensive injuries. Left back will be tested by Mane / Tadic and Soares.
Saint Matty 76: Tim Howard in goal as well as your second CDM.
The 9: Can’t say I’ve been paying too much attention, but losing Baines has got to hurt, and the kid you’ve plugged in there will probably be tested.
Finally – Score predictions?
Le Goddard: 3-1
Special K: 3 – 2 Saints.
hypochondriac: I’m confident. 2-1 saints.
benjii: 3-1 Saints.
Colingjb: Saints 2-1 Everton
Upwey Saint: scrappy 2-1 win for Saints.
Beckenham Saint: 3-1 Saints
The9: 2-1 Saints
Some very confident fans…
Thanks to all from SaintsWeb Forum for contributing – you can find the original questions here: