London - Everton have started this season in the same way they began their
previous two under the management of Martinez; by drawing 2-2 against a team
they might have expected to beat.
Watford exposed defensive vulnerabilities at Goodison Park last
Saturday, with Phil Jagielka in particular looking shaky.
It is that soft centre, more than a record of just two away wins
at Southampton in the Premier League era, that may give Martinez cause for
They will certainly need to defend better than they have on their
last two visits to St Mary's; they lost both times and conceded three own goals
in the process.
"Our last two visits to Southampton have been tough for
different reasons," Martinez said.
"If things could have gone wrong, they went wrong. Two years
ago we conceded two early own goals.
"If you look at our history, it's been a very tough place for
us. It becomes an extra challenge, and we want to embrace that."
Martinez has not been helped defensively by the freak ankle injury
Leighton Baines suffered in training last week.
The left-back had only just returned from an absence of almost
three months following surgery on the same ankle, and has now been ruled out
for around three months.
Winger Kevin Mirallas, though, has recovered from the swollen
ankle sustained last Saturday, when he was on the receiving end of a rough
challenge by Swiss midfielder Velon Behrami.
His presence will aid an attacking threat led by Romelu Lukaku, but
supported by the re-energised Ross Barkley, and with the additional option of
The Ivory Coast striker's two years at Goodison Park have been
blighted by injury and poor form, but his late equaliser against Watford
suggested better times ahead.
"It's a new start for Arouna," Martinez said.
Southampton host Everton on Saturday at the St. Mary's Stadium. Kick-off is set for 13:45.