Everton v Southampton Saturday 5th May, 17:30 Live on BT Sport
Everton finishing with a flourish
Everton consolidated their position in eighth after extending their unbeaten streak to seven and recording back-to-back victories. Goals in each half from Cenk Tosun and Idrissa Gueye gave the Toffees a comfortable 2-0 win at relegation-haunted Huddersfield last time out.
Despite the improved results, there was little respite for boss Sam Allardyce. Visiting supporters at the John Smith's Stadium hoisted a protest banner and aimed abusive chants in the direction of their manager with the ex-England head coach's pragmatic approach turning many Evertonians off.
Allardyce is expected to make minimal changes, if any, from the side that saw off Huddersfield. The only question mark appears to be over who will start in attack between Yannick Bolasie and Nikola Vlasic. Meanwhile, Morgan Schneiderlin should continue his rejuvenation in the centre of midfield.
Southampton back in the survival mix
Southampton proved they have enough quality to earn Premier League survival with a hard-fought home win against Bournemouth, according to manager Mark Hughes. Saints forward Dusan Tadic scored both goals in a 2-1 win that moved the South Coast side to within a point of safety with three games remaining.
The triumph marked Southampton's first success in five outings under Hughes. Tadic put the hosts ahead after a swift counter-attack. Bournemouth equalised seconds before half-time but Tadic restored the advantage with a precise finish, although Saints keeper Alex McCarthy was needed in stoppage time to preserve the advantage.
The victory was only Southampton's sixth of the season and second in 22 Premier League matches since November. Jan Bednarek should keep his place in the XI but Jack Stephens is likely to remain on the bench despite returning from suspension last weekend. Sofiane Boufal and Steven Davis are still unavailable.
Overrated Saints could come unstuck
Southampton haven't won away at Goodison Park since 1997, have a solitary success in 15 on the road and have accumulated just the six league victories from 35 Premier League fixtures thus far, so do appear overrated considering they've been chalked up as 2.66favourites for Saturday evening's encounter.
Everton [3.00] put Newcastle away with consummate ease in their most recent outing here and can boast an excellent W10-D1-L0 return when welcoming teams below them in the table. Include away results and the Toffees have suffered just four defeats in 22 encounters with clubs below them.
With that in mind, and Sam Allardyce determined to conclude the campaign with a flourish, supporting Everton with a +0/0.5 start on the Asian Handicapline has obvious appeal at 1.76. This selection would see us enjoy a half-stakes profit should the match end all-square and a full-stakes pay-out on an Everton win.
Gung-ho game in store at Goodison
Southampton have undoubtedly taken a more gung-ho approach to games under Mark Hughes, knowing draws aren't enough at this stage of the season, and this more attacking attitude has led to an increase in goals in Saints games.
The visitors may have shipped 10 goals across Hughes' first five fixtures but they've also found the net at least twice in three of their most recent four. Overall, four of Southampton's five contests under Hughes' watch have paid out for Over 2.5 Goals punters and a repeat appeals at 2.24.
Everton have scored in all of their games at home to bottom-half teams - netting twice or more on seven occasions - five of which have previously paid out in the Over 2.5 Goalsmarket.
Back Everton +0/0.5 Asian Handicap @ 1.76 in Everton v Southampton
Back Over 2.5 Goals @ 2.24 in Everton v Southampton