This will be a great test for us. Most of the models I've seen -- shots, shots on target, expected goals, etc. -- have Everton and Southampton among the eight best teams in the league with a decent sized gap to ninth place. At the moment, they look like our closest rivals for seventh place, although I do think they're better than us. They have one of the league's two or three best CB pairings (maybe even the best on current form), better midfielders and midfield depth, one of the league's best creative passers (Tadic), and an underrated group of attackers (I think Redmond is particularly underrated).
Basically, Southampton are reaping the benefits of having a good director of football (or whatever Les Reed's title is) while most of the other clubs in the league (ourselves included) were still in the dark ages of letting the manager oversee everything. Les Reed might have been a crap manager but he always seems to buy quality players for reasonable prices (Redmond and Hojbjerg the most recent examples) and he also appoints good coaches. I know there's going to be some tension here over Koeman, but Southampton is a club that I have a lot of respect for because of how well they're run. I think we're making strides in this direction but it takes time to build a sustainable model and we're behind clubs who've already had a DoF structure in place.
Back to the match -- we should have a full-strength eleven featuring our only workable midfield combination1. There's no excuse for not putting in a performance here, even if they are better than us.
1. The more I think about it, the more I think this is the biggest squad problem we have. We do a good job of restricting shots from prime locations (good CB play, penalties aside), our wingers do a reasonable job of creating chances (even if they are inconsistent), and Lukaku is a great finisher. When we play poorly, it tends to be because the link between defense and attack is broken. When Gana is out, we struggle to break up play (Chelsea, although who knows how much he would have helped), and when Barry is out, we don't move the ball well enough (Swansea). We need reinforcements here, possibly even two players.