Southampton v Everton - the fans' view
By Claire Bloomfield
REUTERS - Southampton will host Everton on Sunday as their former manager Ronald Koeman returns to the south coast club for the first time since making the switch in June.
Seventh place Everton have won just six of a possible 21 points in their last seven matches despite a positive start to their 2016/17 Premier League campaign.
Here is what the fans have to say about their respective clubs:
Andrew Walker, Saints Podcast
The return of Ronald Koeman will be the main story this weekend. There were rumours around the club that they actually wanted to get rid of him because he wasn’t bringing young players into the team, so it will be quite interesting to see what reception he gets from the fans.
Everton’s form has tailed off a little bit recently so it feels like this is definitely an opportunity to pick up three points, especially at home. I think it will be a close game but we’ll win 2-1, although I don’t know how we’ll react following the Europa League fixture in mid week.
Virgil van Dijk has been my stand out player of the season so far, I think he’s been sensational. The club have done it again, finding a decent centre half when another one has left. I don’t know how we do it but every time we get a better player.
Everton sold John Stones for 48 million pounds ($59.77 million) and if we were to sell Van Dijk, which is inevitable given our track record, we should be asking north of that price. He’s definitely one of the best defenders in the Premier League. He’s extremely consistent, his stats are incredible but he’s also a natural leader on the pitch too.
(Manager) Claude Puel is really pragmatic and seems like a very level-headed coach and I’ve been impressed with him. I know some people say he’s relatively unknown to England but I think it says a lot about the club’s scouting. Puel is definitely not shying away from giving the young players a chance and we’ve got two or three that now are regulars.
George McKane, Everton Supporters Trust
In November 1971 we beat Southampton 8-0 at Goodison. I’ll never forget it because it was my birthday. I don’t see that happening on Sunday but it would be nice. I think we’ll win 2-0.
This will be a fascinating game because of the Ronald Koeman link. I think there will be a bit of booing from the home supporters because people didn’t understand why he was going -- but he was going to a bigger club.
It’s an important match for us because Everton have only won one of their last seven matches so we’re in a desperate state -- and we were lucky to get a draw against Swansea.
The players made the fans a promise that after the international break they were going to turn it around so we’re looking for a response this weekend.
Generally speaking the Everton fans have not lost faith in Koeman yet, it’s too early, we’re going to be patient with him. That said, the fans want to see a bit of a performance because it’s not working at the moment.
St Mary’s isn’t an easy place to go but I think it’s time Everton and Koeman made a statement to the fans, showing us commitment for 90 minutes. We always have a bad first half or a bad second half, we can’t do it for the whole game and that’s not acceptable for me.
The consensus is that the fans would be behind the manager if he chose to drop five or six first team players and brought young players in until January. It feels like there are too many players in that side that are not under any pressure to perform.
Romelu Lukaku is not a team player, he plays for Lukaku FC. Is there anyone in the club to play up front with him? The answer seemingly is no so the midfield have got to step up and support him. The wingers are not feeding Lukaku and there’s a massive lack of creativity in midfield.
Idrissa Gueye has been my stand out player of the season so far and many Evertonians will tell you the same. He is adored already. I don’t think we’ve seen him have a bad minute, never mind a bad game.
($1 = 0.8031 pounds)
(Editing by Toby Davis)