Defensively Saints will look to play a high line and condense the play further up field. They have made the fewest fouls in the top flight but have made the most interceptions with midfield workhorse Schneiderlin making the most in the top flight. In a contact sport where contact doesn’t seem to be allowed anymore, interceptions are the most effective, low risk method of regaining possession. It does perhaps hint that our visitors lack some bite although at the same time it reduces the amount of free kicks conceded which was a crucial error Swansea made against us last week.On the ball, they have played the fewest long balls per game and the most through balls, so they obviously like to play a short passing game and look for incisive balls in the final third. They are very positive too as was shown by the fact they led against both the Manchester clubs going into the final stages of the games. The United match in particular demonstrated this positivity in possession, with 33% of their passes being played forward compared to United’s 27%. This approach should be applauded given the predominance of percentage football evil cabal bores such as O’Neill and fattie Allardyce.
In Schneiderlin they have the player who has covered more ground than any other Prem player this season. The ex Strasbourg man has averaged over 7 miles per game, peaking at.7.31 miles vs Man City. Their energy as a team is similar to Lambert’s Norwich last season but their style is more akin to Blackpool’s during their solitary season in the top flight.Going forward they have scored plenty with Toffees fan Adam Lallana the key creative force. He will start on the left but will come inside. He’s not got the pace to go past players but he does have a great knack of drifting into pockets of space and playing a killer pass with 2 assists to his name already. The best way to defend him is to show him the outside as he isn’t a great crosser as the below chalkboard demonstrates; misfiring all 10 crosses vs Wigan. In many ways Lallana is a bit like Leon Osman style wise. You can get the Soton man at 16/1 with Boylesports to get the first assist
4/1 Leon Osman anytime goalscorer, Everton win double (Willie Hills)