There aren’t many things in sport that you can predict with a lot of confidence.

Indeed, in English football you often hear managers state that the Premier League is the best in the world and that anybody is capable of beating anyone else.

However, that seems to pretty much manage to circumvent Saints playing at Goodison Park.

It is now 14 fruitless visits and 21 long years since Saints came back from Everton with three points and the wait, in time at least, is set to extend still further.

Kevin Davies was only 21 when he scored that famous Saints wonder goal in 1997. To put it into context he retired three years ago at the age of 38.

And it wasn’t to be again this time round.

Mark Hughes theorised before the game that it might be a good time to play Everton, with a new manager and a raft of new players still trying to find their feet and gel as a team.

At times they did look disjointed, like they weren’t quite sure what each other were doing, but there was no doubting their quality, and they will surely get better as the season wears on.

In the end whatever they had did prove to be just too much for Saints who are now under a modicum of pressure.

Having drawn their first game at home, and now having lost this, the chance to make the fast start to the season most felt they needed is in the balance.

They now have to take on Claude Puel’s Leicester at St Mary’s and Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park before the first international break.

Those matches are the kind that look very winnable indeed when you bounce into them on the back of good results and are hoping to make it a brilliant opening to the campaign.

They are also the sort of games that begin to look a bit trickier when you feel the pressure to have to get points.

There are positives to take from defeat at Everton.

Saints did look competitive, and much better than last season going forward, Danny Ings was again lively and, importantly, opened his scoring account, but, ultimately, it was a trip home without any points and a few defensive worries to ponder.

With Jannik Vestergaard sidelined by illness Hughes went with a 4-4-2 and Ings paired with Charlie Austin up top.

It was a brave call that again underlined he is as good as his word when it comes to making whatever changes he deems necessary and, as if further proof were needed, by the end Saints were playing 4-2-4.

But just as Saints took time to get going in their opening game, it was the first 45 minutes that did the damage again.

Saints weren’t without chances in the first half and came close just before Everton scored both of their goals.

After weathering an early storm as Everton, backed by an excited crowd for their first home game, threatened from a few set-pieces, Austin had a great chance to give Saints the lead.

James Ward-Prowse delivered a perfect free kick which found the striker unmarked ten yards out but he missed the target with his header.

Theo Walcott, the Saints academy product who preferred a move to Goodison Park to St Mary’s in January, made them pay by giving the Toffees the lead on 15 minutes.

It was a slick training ground free kick which Saints weren’t alert to as Leighton Baines slid the ball to Morgan Schneiderlin and he turned it round the corner from the edge of the area.

Walcott easily spun in and lifted the ball past Alex McCarthy, who got the slightest of touches to it but couldn’t keep it out.

On 25 minutes Cedric’s shot from distance was surprisingly spilled by Jordan Pickford, but the keeper recovered to make a remarkable point-blank range save from Danny Ings whose follow up effort was turned onto the underside of the bar.

Just six minutes later it was 2-0 as Saints were cut open down their left and Walcott crossed for Richarlison, who darted to beat Cedric at the far post to head home.

Even then it might have been better for Saints but Ings flicked a header across goal and wide.

Saints were the better side in the second period and got a goal back nine minutes after the restart. Ward-Prowse’s outswinging corner was flicked on by Mario Lemina to Ings, who found space by pretty much standing still in the middle of the six yard box.

His reward was to turn home from close range for what could be a vital goal in terms of him getting his confidence up.

Everton had a goal chalked out for offside before Walcott ended a superb period of play by firing wide when in behind.

Saints had the Toffees panicked a few times in what was a scrappy, chaotic type of finish, but it was only Ward-Prowse’s free kick that worked Pickford, who Hughes felt should have been sent off for a late follow through on a clearance that left Ings with a ripped shirt and stud marks on his back.

In the end the final whistle brought an all too familiar feeling to the Saints fans that had made the journey.

The wait goes on.