Swansea City vs Everton

, 21 December, 0comments  |  Jump to most recent
Match Preview

Everton travel south for the first of four games in 10 days as they move into the busy Festive season with a clash with Swansea City. Roberto Martinez goes in search of another three points to keep the Champions League challenge alive as the games come thick and fast between now and the FA Cup date with QPR.

Unfortunately, the race for a place in the top four grows ever more competitive and the importance of winning every match assumes massive importance. Though Everton are unbeaten in nine with five wins, they've not been able to lift themselves out of fifth place and Saturday's games weren't favourable to their cause either; all of Manchester City, Manchester United, Newcastle United and Liverpool picked up victories but the Arsenal-Chelsea tussle on Monday will represent dropped points for at least one team.

As Martinez knows all too well, though, his team just needs to keep on winning and Champions League qualification will take care of itself. This weekend sees him return to the club where he made his managerial name as Swansea made their incredible rise from near-extinction and, eventually, to the top flight.

The Spaniard will have happy memories of his time there and the Liberty Stadium has been a good hunting ground for Everton over the past two seasons with two victories and two clean sheets. A repeat performance of last season's shwashbuckling performance would be just fine, thank you very much.

Article continues below video content

Martinez has changes to make to his first team, though, following the loss to injury of Gerard Deulofeu and the return from a one-game ban of James McCarthy. The Spanish forward will be sidelined until the end of January nursing a torn hamstring but the McCarthy is expected to return to partner Gareth Barry.

McCarthy's absence was noticeable against Fulham last weekend, particularly in the 25 minutes after half time where the Blues' lost thier discipline to a degree and missed the Irish international midfielder's tenacity and stabling influence.

Kevin Mirallas, who had a field day in this fixture last season, is the automatic choice to replace Deulofeu in right midfield, while Leon Osman is the likely candidate to make way for McCarthy in central midfield despite his goalscoring heroics at Goodison last Saturday.

The Swans under highly-sought-after boss Michael Laudrup, have been somewhat erratic this season but are comfortably mid-table with five wins. They will be weakened by the absence of winger Nathan Dyer, though, while star player Michu is also in a race against time to be fit. Laudrup will also be without goalkeeper Michel Vorm who had surgery on his knee this past week.

Though they haven't picked up as many victories at the Liberty Stadium as their manager would like, they are unbeaten on home soil since losing to Arsenal at the end of September.

The Gunners' victory is obviously the template that Everton need to follow if they are to realise those Champions League dreams and there is no reason why they can't achieve it if they keep playing the way they have been in recent weeks.

Kick off: 4pm
Referee: Lee Mason

Quotes or other material sourced from ToffeeWeb Match Reports

About these ads

© ToffeeWeb