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Everton have a chance to create some distance between themselves and the drop as they face Southampton in a potential six-point belter Saturday at St Mary's.
The Toffees (3-2-6) are three points above the Saints (2-2-7) in the table in 17th place on 11 points. While Everton were able to nick a point off Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday with a 1-1 draw, it came at a devastating cost as midfielder Andre Gomes suffered a dislocated right ankle following a challenge by Spurs' Heung-Min Son.
The injury was so gruesome supporters at Goodison Park recoiled in horror, and Son was disconsolate walking to the tunnel as the South Korea international had no malicious intent in trying to play the ball. Son was sent off by Martin Atkinson after originally issuing a yellow based on the severity of Gomes' injury as he was stretchered off - it was later rescinded by the FA - but the event made Cenk Tosun's 97th-minute equaliser following the lengthy delay merely an afterthought with everyone concerned about Gomes' well-being.
"The feedback I had from our medical staff is that it's possible we will see Andre playing again this season," Silva said during his Thursday press conference. "Everything went really well with the surgery and [post-operation] examinations and we hope we can see Andre playing again this season."
In the short term, however, it leaves Everton woefully understaffed in central midfield, which has been a trouble spot since Idrissa Gueye left during the summer. His replacement, Jean-Philippe Gbamin, remains a long-term injury absence, and Silva said veteran Fabian Delph is a "big doubt" after possibly aggravating a hamstring injury versus Spurs.
Morgan Schneiderlin could step into the defensive midfielder role if Delph is unable to go, with a possible pairing of Michael Keane if Silva retains his usual 4-2-3-1 formation.
For Southampton, this game counts as a welcome respite for a brutal stretch of schedule as they look to end a six-match winless spell (0-1-5) in all competitions. The Saints absorbed a pair of losses at two-time champions Manchester City last week, first in the Carabao Cup by a 3-1 count and then by a 2-1 margin in league play Saturday.
Ralph Hasenhuttl's team looked far more competitive than they were a fortnight ago when Leicester City handed Southampton the worst home loss in the history of top-flight English football with that historic 9-0 thrashing, but they could not hold out against a determined City side - the Saints conceded twice in the final 20 minutes after going ahead through James Ward-Prowse in the first quarter-hour.
"We spoke about the last two games against a very strong side. We tried our way to get something there and finally it wasn't enough," Hasenhuttl said at his Thursday news conference.
"It gives us a feeling that when we work together and are defensively organised and very disciplined, some teams score against us as we have shown, but on Saturday we need more qualities for winning."
Goals have still been hard to come by for Southampton, who are tied with Crystal Palace for third joint-lowest with 10 goals in league play. The Saints will get a welcome boost with the full fitness of Moussa Djenepo, who has two goals but had been sidelined with a muscle injury for a month before a late runout last weekend versus City.
Ward-Prowse, Djenepo, and Danny Ings have accounted for eight of Southampton's 10 goals. The Saints will be again without Ryan Betrand, who will complete his three-match ban for his red card against Leicester City.
The teams traded 2-1 home victories last term, bookending Southampton's third-round Carabao Cup victory on penalties at Goodison Park. Since the match is recorded as a draw, it left the Saints 1-6-14 in 21 visits to the blue part of Merseyside in the Premier League era.
Everton are 10-5-0 at home versus Southampton in all competitions since a 2-0 loss in 1997.
Updated November 8, 2019