Everton's perfect start to the season may be over, and their long winless run against local rivals Liverpool goes on, but there is no diminishing the feel-good factor around the club right now.
Five matches into the campaign and the Toffees still sit proudly at the top of the pile heading into this weekend, already six points better off than they were at the same early stage of last season.
Carlo Ancelotti's side will now travel to Southampton hoping to remain unbeaten in their first six games of a Premier League season for only the third time, last achieving that in 2013-14.
There are plenty of reasons for them to be confident that they will do exactly that; across all competitions they are now unbeaten in eight games this term, scoring 22 goals in the process.
A run of six games without a clean sheet may be a growing concern for Ancelotti, but they have only conceded once in their last three Premier League away games, winning all of those. The last time Everton won four successive top-flight away games was in December 1985.
So far Everton have mostly relied on scoring more than their opposition, but Southampton have kept more Premier League clean sheets against Everton than they have against any other team in the competition - 13, 10 of which have come at home.
The Saints will have admittedly rarely come up against an Everton attack in such good form during that time, but Sunday's hosts have every reason to be confident going into the game themselves.
After a slow start to the season with defeats in their opening two games, Ralph Hasenhuttl's side have taken seven points from the last nine available, including two clean sheets and a spirited comeback to draw 3-3 with Chelsea last weekend.
Indeed, those two defeats at the start of this season are the only ones Southampton have suffered in their last 12 top-flight outings stretching back to last term too - a run which includes taking points off Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea and Everton themselves.
A 2-0 triumph over West Bromwich Albion before the international break means that victory on Sunday would see Southampton win back-to-back home league games for the first time since last December, although Everton did come out on top in this exact fixture last season and could win consecutive away league visits to Southampton for the first time since January 1992.
Southampton Premier League form: LLWWD
Southampton form (all competitions): LLLWWD
Everton Premier League form: LWWWWD
Everton form (all competitions): WWWWWD
After initially suggesting that James Rodriguez would miss this game, Ancelotti has since reopened the door for the Colombian to feature.
The playmaker picked up a knock during last weekend's Merseyside derby but did partially train on Friday and will be assessed ahead of kickoff, although he remains a major doubt.
Rodriguez has created 15 chances this season - a tally only Son Heung-min can beat - in addition to having a direct hand in six goals from his five appearances, so Everton will be desperate to have him available.
The visitors will definitely be without Richarlison as he begins his suspension for his knee-high challenge on Thiago Alcantara late in the derby, although Jordan Pickford will start having somehow avoided a ban of his own.
Ancelotti has confirmed that Ben Godfrey will make his first start for the club at right-back in the absence of Seamus Coleman, who remains sidelined along with Mason Holgate, Jarrad Branthwaite, Jean-Philippe Gbamin, Jonjoe Kenny and Cenk Tosun.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin will hope to continue his fine form as he bids to become only the second player in Premier League history - after Sergio Aguero last season - to score in each of the opening six games of the campaign.
Southampton have their own in-form striker in the shape of former Liverpool man Danny Ings, who has scored in four of his five appearances against Everton since joining the Saints.
Theo Walcott made his second debut for the club he left as a 16-year-old last weekend, but he is ineligible to face his parent club on Sunday.
Southampton possible starting lineup:
McCarthy; Walker-Peters, Bednarek, Vestergaard, Bertrand; Armstrong, Ward-Prowse, Romeu, Redmond; Ings, Adams
Everton possible starting lineup:
Pickford; Godfrey, Mina, Keane, Digne; Doucoure, Allan, Gomes; Rodriguez, Calvert-Lewin, Iwobi
We say: Southampton 1-1 Everton
With two England internationals in fine goalscoring form it is hard to see either side keeping a clean sheet, and it is hard to separate the two in other areas as well.
Everton will still be full of confidence and the news that Rodriguez may be fit after all is a huge boost for the visitors, but Southampton have every reason to feel good about themselves right now too and we are backing the hosts to get a point from this game.
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