Everton's Opening FixturesEverton 2-2 Watford
Southampton FC v Everton FC
St Mary's Stadium
Saturday 15th August 12:45
Premier League Match 2
Southampton v Everton
Everton v Man City
Tottenham v Everton
Everton v ChelseaSouthampton's Opening FixturesNewcastle 2-2 Southampton
Southampton v Everton
Watford v Southampton
Southampton v Norwich
West Brom v Southampton
My stats site is down for whatever reason so these previews will be even worse than usual, but stay with me. Southampton played in their final round of Europa League Qualifying before the Premier League began and they finished the tie against Vitesse with a 5-0 win over the two legs before jetting off to Newcastle for their opening fixture. Goals from Graziano Pelle and Shane Long earned a point in a 2-2 draw at St James' Park in a game that The Saints both led and trailed. Southampton only conceded 13 goals in 19 league matches at St Mary's Stadium in the premier league last season which is a feat only beaten by Chelsea who conceded just 9 goals. Of those 19 league matches, Southampton managed to keep 11 clean sheets which was the joint most alongside Chelsea.
It's pretty much another summer of overhaul for Southampton after the sales of Nathaniel Clyne and Morgan Schneiderlin. Toby Alderweireld was also a big part of the Southampton defence last season but decided to move to Tottenham Hotspur following his loan expiration. Matters were made worse when Fraser Forster picked up a long term injury which will likely keep him out for the vast majority of the season which means that Southampton's excellent defence from last season and been somewhat torn apart. Both right backs bought in the summer featured at Newcastle as Cedric Soares came off for Cuco Martino after a difficult first half display. Steven Caulker was brought in on loan following his back to back relegation campaigns but had to watch from the bench as Jose Fonte and Maya Yoshia were preferred in defence. Jordy Clasie is meant to be boss.
For a third successive season, Everton kicked off with a 2-2 draw and despite the fact this was the only one of those three matches where Everton didn't throw away a lead, it seemed the most disappointing of all. Everton had 67% of the ball against Watford and managed 10 shots, Watford exceeded that with 11 shots and just 33% of possession. Creativity from the Everton midfield was abject with Cleverley creating the most opportunities (3) followed by Barry (1), Barkley (1), Mirallas (1) and McCarthy (0) whilst Lukaku won just 5/14 aerial duels and 0/6 in the opposition penalty area. Everton have a miserable record at St Mary's Stadium under Roberto Martinez with an aggregate score of 5-0 and three own goals. The last Everton player to score away at Southampton was Marcus Bent in a memorable 2-2 draw back in 2005.
Seeing as the opening match of this season was effectively the 39th match of last season then it's worth viewing a comparison of Martinez's first couple of seasons at Everton. The Toffees points total was 25 points lower than the first season which is the joint 5th biggest drop by a team in Premier League history (the record is 30, held by Leeds and Ipswich). As the graphic shows, Everton were down in almost every important area in last season's campaign and perhaps the biggest thing to take from those stats being the tackles won and tackles lost per game differential which was perhaps a reflection of Everton's lack of intensity last season and sluggishness during matches. Everton went behind in 20 of their 38 premier league matches last season came back to take just 7 points from a possible 60 and just one win (West Ham A). Everton fell behind in 14 of their matches in the 2013/14 season and picked up 10 points from a possible 42.