Three talking points as Southampton piled more misery on sorry Everton
Southampton striker Charlie Austin scored twice as beleaguered Everton slumped to another heavy defeat at St Mary’s Stadium.
Austin’s goals – near identical headers – came within six second-half minutes and took the game away from the Toffees.
Dusan Tadic had given the Saints an early lead before Gylfi Sigurdsson equalised on the stroke of half-time with a sublime effort.
However, Austin had a decisive say and Everton’s wretched afternoon was sealed when Steven Davies made it 4-1, three minutes from time.
Here are three talking points as interim boss David Unsworth presided over another loss for the embattled Toffees.
Manager-less Everton sleepwalking towards relegation
It has been more than a month since Ronald Koeman was relieved of his duties at Goodison Park and there still is no sign that the announcement of his successor is imminent.
Everton’s fortunes have hardly improved under the guidance of Unsworth; in fact they’ve gotten worse. The former Toffees’ defender has presided over six defeats in seven outings and his side sit just two points above the relegation zone.
Everton clearly need a resolution and some clarity.
Their pursuit of Watford boss Marco Silva appears to have hit a brick wall and there have been precious few reports of other candidates. With the January window rapidly approaching, transfer business will be difficult to conduct unless the Toffees have a new man in charge.
Currently, they are sleepwalking towards relegation.
Pressure eases on Saints boss Mauricio Pellegrino
Bizarre though it may sound, speculation was mounting that Mauricio Pellegrino was under pressure for his job, despite having only been in the hot-seat since the summer.
Much like last season, Southampton had struggled for goals with just nine in their opening 12 fixtures, but their four-star show against Everton was just the tonic.
Austin’s impact, on his first top-flight start of the campaign, will have delighted Pellegrino. The former Burnley forward has struggled for fitness over the last 18 months, but arguably remains Southampton’s most natural finisher.
Victory has moved the Saints into the top-half of the Premier League table, although they are only six points clear of the bottom three.
For now, Pellegrino can breath a sigh of relief and look forwards with confidence.
Wayne Rooney restricted to a watching brief
With five goals to his name since rejoining his boyhood club from Manchester United, there was some surprise when Wayne Rooney was only named on the bench against Southampton.
Even stranger was that he was not summoned at all by Unsworth, despite the predicament in which his side found themselves.
It’s been well documented that among the reasons for Everton’s malaise this season is their failure to replace the goals of Romelu Lukaku.
Although Rooney may not be an out-and-out striker, surely a man of his pedigree should have been introduced when Everton were chasing the game?
Instead, the 32-year-old remained a spectator as the Toffees collapsed in the second half. It made for grim viewing.