Southampton v Everton preview: Mario Lemina in contention
Last Updated: 26/11/17 4:43pm
Mario Lemina could return from injury as Southampton face struggling Everton on Nissan Super Sunday.
The midfielder has not played for over a month due to an ankle injury, but Saints head coach Mauricio Pellegrino says a "late call" will be made on whether he features at St Mary's.
In Lemina's absence, Saints have not won a game and have only scored one goal in their last three outings.
Pellegrino has experienced some unrest from the club's supporters and criticism of his style of play, but he said: "We are five points from eighth. Or four points away (from the bottom three): to be in the top of the table or the bottom.
"This is the Premier League; it's amazing for this, because it's really competitive, and also really difficult."
Everton are one of the few sides in worse form than Southampton as they have lost six of their last eight matches in all competitions, including a 5-1 home defeat to Atalanta in the Europa League on Thursday.
Despite the Toffees' poor run of form, striker Wayne Rooney thinks there have been improvements under caretaker manager David Unsworth.
"There's been a change of manager, it's been a positive change I believe in terms of performances, tonight aside," he said. "You can see that on the pitch. We have to keep trying to pick up points in the Premier League and try and climb up the league."
Pellegrino faces a potential problem in central midfield unless Lemina is passed fit to start.
Fellow central midfielder Oriol Romeu is suspended, while Matt Targett is absent with a leg injury.
Everton striker Oumar Niasse will become the first Premier League player to serve a suspension for diving.
Niasse was found guilty of deceiving the referee to win a penalty against Crystal Palace and has been hit with a two-game ban.
Unsworth will make sweeping changes to the side humbled 5-1 by Atalanta on Thursday. Tom Davies is suspended and there are questions over Phil Jagielka (groin) and Morgan Schneiderlin (toe).
Saints have lost one of their last eight home Premier League meetings with Everton (W4 D3), losing 0-3 in August 2015.
Everton have failed to score in eight of their last 12 Premier League visits to face Southampton, including four of the last five.
Southampton haven't scored in 10 of their Premier League home games so far in 2017 - only rivals Portsmouth (11 in 2007) have failed to score in more Premier League home matches in a single calendar year (also Fulham 10; in 2002 and Manchester City; 10 in 1995).
Everton have made the earliest substitutions on average this season (65th minute) and have made more subs before the start of the second half than any other Premier League side (9).
Southampton are hard to watch. Nothing happens! You can sort of see what will happen in the game: they'll have a lot of the ball, passing neat and tidy, but I can't imagine Jordan Pickford having to make four saves.
I think David Unsworth will have the job until the end of the season, and sooner or later the Silva deal will be done and it'll happen in the summer.
I think Everton are writing this season off now, as long as they don't go down. If they bring a manager in now, he'll want £50m or £60m in January.
PAUL PREDICTS: 1-1 (5/1 with Sky Bet)
Southampton are marginally odds-on at 17/20 for the victory with Everton priced at 7/2 while the draw is a 23/10 chance. Manolo Gabbiadini and Charlie Austin share favouritism in the first goalscorer betting at 4/1 apiece, while Wayne Rooney is considered the Toffees' main threat at 15/2 to net first.