At the Saint Mary’s Stadium, Southampton, the memories of that unforgettable 9-0 thrashing against Leicester City loomed largely. People talked about it more rather than the fact, Southampton have been that team that boast a great record of maintaining more clean sheets against Everton than any other teams in the Premier League. Given the kind of form the Toffees are in, Southampton might not have the brightest of chances on the sun-kissed day at Saint Mary’s Stadium.

A reckless over-the-top foul on Thiago Alcantara from forward Richarlison saw the Brazilian shown a straight red card by referee Michael Oliver in the closing stages, ruling the 23-year-old out of Everton’s next three fixtures.

Richarlison has been in fine form this season with the Toffees’ joint-second-most assists (two) over five appearances, while contributing one goal and his side’s highest number of successful dribbles (16), second-most shots (16), and fourth-most key balls (four), according to WhoScored.

Ancelotti would also be without captain Seamus Coleman after the Republic of Ireland international was forced off during the Merseyside Derby with a hamstring injury, but the good news was, James Rodriguez, did feature finally.

Alex Lowbi played in the position of Richarlison and Godfrey took the right-back position of Coleman.

The lack of winning combination at the pitch might have hampered the rhythm of the Toffees big time.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin failed to cut a satisfactory figure and it has been noticed, yet again, if he is not supported by a winger or striker behind him, he fails to fire. In the previous matches, Richarlison played a key role in getting behind Calvert-Lewin more often and create the space for scoring whereas; Ricahrslison was ideally effective in dominating the left flank lining-up with Lucas Digne.

Doucoure, as usual, went behind Rodriguez to act as the shield for him to roam freely, but the cutting-edge of the Colombian was lacking.

Ancelotti revealed James Rodríguez had barely trained this week after sustaining a knock against Liverpool last weekend and, while he looked undercooked here, that was the least of the Italian’s concerns. Everton were two goals down inside 35 minutes, with Ward-Prowse arrowing in across Pickford after collecting a weighted pass by Danny Ings before Adams doubled Southampton’s advantage after hammering in at the back post.

Ings again turned provider, scooting away from Ben Godfrey and Yerry Mina before hanging a cross towards the back post, where Ward-Prowse was waiting unmarked. But Adams, too, was lurking and, with the Everton defence gone walkabout, he smashed in via a Gylfi Sigurdsson deflection.

Southampton are a side, who exploit the flanks very well, and thus, with James lacking the spark and Doucoure trying to shield him more, it was up to Godfrey to tackle the left-side oriented attacks of Southampton – 43% of their attacks came from the left with 33% of shot directions while at the center of the park they had 30% of the ball to Everton’s 23% with 50% of shot directions.

Sigurdsson and Allan along with the backline were put on the back-foot by the Adams, Ings, Oriol Romeu, Jaanik Vestergaard, and Ward-Prowse.

75% of Southampton’s shooting zones were within the 18-yard box in comparison to Everton’s 50%.

From 12 attempts of Southampton, there were 10 open plays!

Everton had enjoyed just 3 from 6!

The compactness of the midfield and back of Southampton prompted Everton to rely on long balls (44 to Southampton’s 34), which was hardly effective. Meanwhile, Southampton invested in short passes (573 to Everton’s 457) and it helped to exploit the spaces on the left and middle.

Everton lacked creativity and were poor in finishing.

Southampton ended the winning streak of Everton and the Premier League is open again!