Southampton vs Everton is our live Saturday lunchtime kick-off and both teams will be looking to do one better than their Desmond’s last weekend. To help with your FLIP Sports in-play fantasy team selection, we’ve picked out some key players for consideration.
Southampton had one of the best defensive records in the league last season, conceding a miserly 13 goals at home. Toby Alderweireld may have left for Spurs, but Jose Fonte is the beating heartbeat of this defence. He was voted the fan’s player of the season back in May, and is the first name on the team sheet at Southampton with good reason. Fonte made 37 league appearances last season and the experienced defender is an excellent leader. One can reasonably expect Fonte to keep a player like Arouna Koné at bay for the full ninety minutes with little difficulty. With Everton also possibly missing Mirallas for their next fixture, the Blues will struggle to create any attack that Fonte won’t be able to handle.
Everton’s real transfer coup of the summer has been convincing McCarthy to sign a new contract to ward off interest from Tottenham and Manchester City. He brings a dynamism and ethic that has made his expensive transfer from Wigan look more and more like a bargain. His commitment to defensive duties is also key to the way Everton like to play. If they are to get any joy against Southampton, this young man will need to play like the fans know he can. Losing Leighton Baines has been described as a ‘disaster’ by Martinez—so Everton need their other big players to pick up the slack.
Southampton may have difficulty each season with the big boys stealing their players, but they’ve held onto a real gem in Pellé. Scorer of 12 league goals last season, he has already gotten off the mark this season with a goal against Newcastle in their away 2-2 draw. Big and powerful, the Italian striker is capable of some real magic when he’s on the ball. We expect him to get some joy against an Everton side that still looks thin on the ground with Martinez yet to bring in the transfers the fans want. Everton were lucky to get a point last time out, conceding two to Premier League new boys Watford. The interest in John Stones might also have an affect on the young man’s game too.
Honourable mention pick goes to the striker Romelu Lukaku, of whom much is expected this season. After two impressive loans, Lukaku had a mixed time on Mersyside last season—although to be fair to him, most of the team failed to perform to the level they had previously. If Lukaku can’t perform this time round, fans will start to wonder (and loudly) if the Belgian was worth the £28 million they paid for him.
His size and strength will be a keen test for Maya Yoshida in defence. We all know what Lukaku can bring to the table, it remains to be seen if he can pull it off against the Saints.