Everton will be looking to make it three Premier League wins in a row on Saturday when Swansea City comes to town.
Everton vs Swansea City Preview
By Eoin Leeson
Match: Everton vs Swansea City at Goodison Park
Date: Saturday, November 1, 3pm
A defence that had looked so shaky at the start of the season now looks stable, with Phil Jagielka leading by example. Our forwards are hitting the goal trail too with Lukaku, Eto’o and Naismith having all notched four goals this season. We are looking more and more like last season’s team with every game that goes by and we still have Kevin Mirallas and John Stones to return.
Ross Barkley started on the bench against Burnley and that shows the quality we have in the squad. The talent has always been there and it’s now starting to show. We’ve gone from 17th to 9th in the past couple of weeks and we have a great opportunity to continue our resurgence this Saturday.
That said, we’ll need to be at the top of our game to beat Swansea, a side that have already humiliated us this season. Our opponents lie 6th in the table thanks to a start which has seen them win four times, draw twice and lose three matches. They have also won twice in the League Cup before being knocked out by Liverpool on Tuesday.
Garry Monk has continued to build on the foundations laid down by previous managers including our very own Roberto Martinez by playing attractive, possession based football. Monk has got this style producing goals and he has added a hard working attitude with forwards putting in extra defensive shifts.
One of Swansea’s weaknesses is the way they tire towards the end of matches. Stoke, Newcastle and Liverpool have all come from losing positions to take positive results from Swansea in the second half of matches during this campaign. Although Everton are now finding a consistent level of performance, we have the ability to raise our game for the latter stages of matches and this could be key if we find ourselves in a losing position on Saturday.
Wilfried Bony has scored 4 goals in his last 3 games and is the main man the Blues will have to keep an eye on. The Ivorian scored 16 league goals last year and is a real menace up front. Gylfi Sigurdsson has 7 assists this season and is Swansea’s major creative spark playing in the centre of the team’s attacking midfield trio. His supplying of chances for teammates is remarkable and our holding midfielders will need to be on form to keep him quiet.
Nathan Dyer, Wayne Routledge and Jefferson Montero provide pace and are outlets out wide while Ki Sung Yueng runs the show from the centre of the park.
Swansea has been a popular opponent in the past year. Marvin Emnes, Sigurdsson and Dyer condemned us to a 3-0 defeat in September but last season we did the treble over them with 2-1 and 3-2 league victories as well as a 3-1 FA Cup tie win.
We are once again without Stones and Mirallas for the game while Bryan Oviedo and Arouna Kone are very unlikely to feature.
Eto’o will hope to start after his impressive showing against Burnley and Barkley will be eager for a recall to the starting XI.
Leon Britton and Jordi Amat will be absent for Swansea and Jazz Richards, Dwight Tiendalli and Rory Donnely are all doubtful. Sigurdsson should play after missing the midweek game against Liverpool.
EVERTON Likely line up: Howard, Coleman, Jagielka, Alcaraz, Baines, McCarthy, Barry, Barkley, Naismith, Eto’o, Lukaku (4-2-2-2)
SWANSEA Likely line up: Fabianski, Rangel, Fernandez, Williams, Taylor, Shelvey, Ki, Dyer, Sigurdsson, Routledge, Bony (4-2-3-1)
Swansea will be tough opponents but we should edge this game especially with home advantage on our side.
PREDICTION: Everton 2-1 Swansea.