Kick-off: 1500, 14/08/2021
Stadium: Goodison Park
Everton begin a new era at Goodison Park as Rafael Benitez takes charge of his first match at the Toffees against Southampton on the opening weekend of the Premier League campaign.
The former Liverpool boss has been tasked with replacing Carlo Ancelotti, who returned to Real Madrid, as Everton target European football after just missing out last season.
The Toffees only won six games at Goodison Park last season but are fancied to improve with supporters back in the ground and a home win at 17/20 is our opening Everton vs Southampton prediction.
A Look At Everton’s Betting Odds
It will be interesting how Everton fans take to their rivals’ former manager after voicing their concerns when the Spaniard was rumoured to replace Ancelotti at the helm.
The Toffees finished 10th last season after starting the campaign with seven straight victories in all competitions to briefly sit at the summit of the Premier League before eventually sliding down the table.
It will have hurt the Everton fans after a perfect start and will be even more painful after Ancelotti, who was adamant he wanted to lead the club into their new stadium, left for Madrid.
The future of the Italian’s go-to man, James Rodriguez, is circling about whether the playmaker will also return to Real but Benitez has a strong squad at his disposal and will want to get off to a quick start.
And the omens are their for the hosts. In the head-to-head Premier League fixtures, the home side have lost only three of the last 23 meetings, stretching back to April 2002.
A Look At Southampton’s Betting Odds
Southampton briefly sat at the top of the Premier League table last November but found themselves in relegation trouble towards the back end of the campaign before finishing in 15th place.
Injuries were a big factor in their downfall, with key men such as Danny Ings and Oriol Romeu missing chunks of the second half of the season.
Investment will be needed at Saints in what is already a thin squad and it could be another struggle if injuries start to pile up again.
The return of fans will be an interesting factor in the 2021-22 campaign after the coronavirus pandemic restricted the league to few opportunities for fans to return to stadia.
Southampton picked up only 16 points on their travels and will want to get off to a fast start to alleviate any lingering doubts over Ralph Hasenhuttl, who has suffered two 9-0 defeats during his tenure.
However, Benitez and Hasenhuttl are both defensively-minded coaches who make their teams hard to beat and with the last three fixtures yielding two goals or fewer, it looks worth the extra risk to back a home win and under 2.5 goals at 10/3 to wrap up our Everton vs Southampton betting tips.
Man City 5-0 EVERTON
West Ham 3-0 SOUTHAMPTON
Head-to-head: Everton 1-0 Southampton, Southampton 2-0 Everton, Everton 1-1 Southampton, Southampton 1-2 Everton, Southampton 2-1 Everton.
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