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Betting preview: Everton - Southampton

It was a long time coming but it was only ever going to take one win for the narrative to shift around Southampton. When a club has recorded four successive top-half finishes and still boasts a handful of players associated with that cycle, it doesn’t stretch the imagination too much to envisage a rapid turnaround in fortunes and a run of consecutive wins.

The Saints were worthy winners against Bournemouth last weekend, Dusan Tadic scoring both goals in a 2-1 success. In truth, though, the Cherries weren’t up to much. Eddie Howe’s men were lame opposition for the most part and yet, there was an air of desperation as Mark Hughes’ men retreated in the latter stages, trying to defend their lead by dropping deeper and deeper.

Nonetheless, it was a much-needed show of spirit and a breakthrough for their new manager on a day when it felt like there was no other option. A win is a big deal when you haven’t triumphed in three months. In fact, the misery for Southampton goes back much further; it was only their second triumph in 22 league outings. 

Now Hughes, forever insistent that his players and his methods are more deserving than the results he ends up with, regardless of how little time he has been in situ, is grateful for “a little bit of validation” and hopes the shackles will come off in the remaining three games. Charlie Austin, in the true late-dash-for-survival spirit, says: "We feel we have momentum." 

Whether this one-match winning streak counts for more than a dismal record at this venue is debatable, though. Southampton haven’t returned victorious from Goodison since 1997, a barren run of 12 visits that includes four defeats in the past five years when the two clubs have been pitched together as virtual equals.

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500 EUR
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256199 4
125 EUR
181839 5
75 EUR
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50 EUR

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Sam Allardyce continues to amuse himself by trolling Everton fans, revealing before last weekend’s comfortable 2-0 victory at Huddersfield that he had held lengthy talks with owner Farhad Moshiri about his plans for next season, when he knows as well as everyone else that, in all likelihood, he won’t be there to execute them.

Predictably, it sparked some vitriolic chants from the visiting enclosure at the John Smith’s Stadium, even though the Toffees were heading towards back-to-back wins and an unbeaten April, taking eight points from a possible 12, which puts Big Sam in contention for the Manager of the Month award.

Results are the only thing Allardyce has going for him on Merseyside, so don’t expect him to treat this game lightly. The world has long since given up on the empty promise that he would alter his style of football in accordance with resources, but he still has a bottom line to protect before he goes off in search of his next firefighting mission.

Allardyce might have been known to bloody the noses of bigger clubs in his early days at Bolton, but consistently stealing the dinner money from smaller kids has brought home the bacon in recent years. This season, Everton have taken 31 points from a possible 33 in home matches against teams below them in the table. The 2/1 available on the Toffees stretching that sample to 11 wins out of 12 is simply too good to resist. 

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Everton to beat Southampton at 2/1

England - Premier League Everton vs Southampton 05 May, 16:30 GMT 0

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