Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl says his side is ready to weather an "intense" autumn period as they prepare to face Everton in the first Premier League game of a hectic autumn schedule ahead of the Qatar 2022 World Cup.
Saints, and the rest of the English top flight, get back into the swing of things this weekend as teams prepare for a frantic six-week hurtle towards an elongated mid-season break to facilitate the end-of-year tournament.
It has been a tough start to the campaign for the south coast outfit, but Hasenhuttl believes the September international break has given him the time to iron out kinks, and says he will need his whole squad for the next phase of their season.
"We were able to work individually on some behaviours that we need for our game" he said. "We had some good sessions and it is going to be hard for me to put a squad on the pitch because they all did a good job.
"We had 10 squad players that stayed here this time which made it a bit easier. It can be hard to plan sessions with just four or five players. We need every player on a high level and that is why we pushed them so hard. We are ready for this intense time.
Opposite number Frank Lampard, meanwhile, revealed Dominic Calvert-Lewin could be in contention to finally return from injury for the visitors, but warned they would not rush him back.
"We're looking at it, we want him at his best fitness and strength," Lampard added. "Any player that has injuries finds it difficult to deal with because he wants to play and he'll be frustrated when he can't play."
Southampton – Adam Armstrong
Two of Armstrong's three Premier League goals have come at St. Mary's, including in their last such game against Chelsea. Saints haven't had a player score in successive home league games since Armando Broja in October 2021.
Everton – Neal Maupay
The Toffees forward netted his first goal for the club against West Ham last time out, ending his longest run without a goal in the Premier League (12 games). Could he add another this weekend?
- Southampton beat Everton 2-0 in February and are looking to pick up consecutive Premier League victories against them for the first time since December 2014.
- Everton have lost seven of their last nine away league games against Southampton (W2), more than they had in their previous 22 such visits to Saints (W8 D8 L6).
- Southampton have lost each of their last two Premier League games, without scoring in either. Only twice under Hasenhüttl have the Saints failed to score in three consecutive league games, December 2020 (D2 L1) and September 2021 (D2 L1). Indeed, they last lost three successive games in the top-flight without scoring in October 2018 under Mark Hughes.
- Everton are currently enjoying their longest unbeaten spell in the Premier League under Lampard (5 games – W1 D4); their longest such run since December 2020 (W4 D1). The Toffees haven't enjoyed a longer unbeaten streak in a single season since November/December 2017 (7 games – W4 D3).
- Southampton recorded their first home league win of the season in their last such game against Chelsea (2-1), and could record successive league victories at St. Mary's for the first time since February, when they beat both Everton and Norwich 2-0.
Updated September 30, 2022