Southampton heaped more misery on Everton with an emphatic 4-1 victory at St Mary’s in the Premier League on Super Sunday.
Charlie Austin scored two second-half headers (52, 58) after Gylfi Sigurdsson’s brilliant effort (45) had earlier cancelled out Dusan Tadic’s 18th-minute opener for the home side – before Steven Davis curled in a late fourth with a fine finish three minutes from time.
Everton have now won only one of their last 12 matches in all competitions and remain 16th in the Premier League, two points above the relegation zone, while Southampton climb to 10th.
Austin, starting a Premier League game for the first time this season, would have a hat-trick to his name if he’d converted one of two good chances in the opening 12 minutes. Firstly, he scuffed a presentable chance over the bar following a corner, before striking the post from seven yards as he attempted to steer home a Cedric Soares cut-back.
But the opener arrived on 18 minutes when Tadic received Ryan Bertrand’s through-ball and took one touch to fend off Leighton Baines before deftly slipping the ball past Jordan Pickford with his left foot.
Southampton dominated the first 45 minutes, but Sigurdsson conjured up a sensational Everton equaliser just before the break, curling home from 20 yards with the ball dramatically striking the bar, the post and the bar again before crossing the line.
However, the game was ultimately settled by two simple headed goals shortly after half-time. Austin restored Southampton’s lead within seven minutes of the restart, steering a close-range header across Pickford from Bertrand’s left-wing cross.
And things got even worse for Everton when Idrissa Gueye lost possession six minutes later, affording Tadic time and space on the left to cross for Austin to head in his second and Southampton’s third.
The fourth arrived in the 87th minute when Davis curled past Pickford from the edge of the area after excellent work from James Ward-Prowse and Soares in the build-up.
Wayne Rooney remained a frustrated observer from the substitutes’ bench as Southampton cruised to victory and with David Unsworth picking up just four points from his four league games in charge, Everton’s need to appoint a new full-time manager now seems more urgent than ever.
Man of the Match – Charlie Austin
Austin’s eight previous Premier League appearances this season had all come from the bench and the striker evidently had a point to prove after being awarded a rare start by Mauricio Pellegrino. He made that point in style and despite spurning two early chances, he settled this match with two textbook headers shortly after the break.
The pundit – Andy Hinchcliffe
“With Everton, there’s no defensive urgency. There’s no urgency to get blocks in and stop the opposition doing what they want to do. There’s no game plan either going forward or defensively and I’m struggling to work out what Everton are looking to do with the team they put out.
“They are talking about getting another manager in but the problem is the personnel they’ve got. What XI can you put out to maybe grind out a 0-0 draw, maybe to outplay the opposition? Like I said, Everton have no game plan and they can’t seem to do anything well so you can get Marco Silva in, you could even get Pep Guardiola in but what on earth would he do with that bunch of players?”
- Southampton scored four goals in a Premier League home fixture for the first time since May 2016.
- Everton have conceded 28 goals in the Premier League this season; their most after 13 games of a league campaign since 1958/59 (40).
- Charlie Austin has had a hand in eight goals in his last 11 starts for Southampton in the Premier League (seven goals and one assist).
- The previous Southampton striker to net two headed goals in a Premier League game was James Beattie in October 2002.
What’s next?Everton have two home games against West Ham (Wednesday) and Huddersfield (Saturday) in the next week, while Southampton travel to leaders Man City on Wednesday before making the short trip to Bournemouth on Super Sunday.