Everton entertain a very impressive Swansea City on Saturday afternoon where they will be hoping to take full advantage of the Welsh side’s hectic schedule, and pick up what has become a routine win, says Matthew Desai.
The Toffees have won four of their last six games in the Premier League, losing just the once, but they certainly won’t be taking anything for granted against a Swansea City team whom they boast an incredible record over.
Michael Laudrup’s Swansea have been in good form themselves recently. The South Wales outfit sit ninth in the league table, forced an FA Cup replay out of Arsenal last weekend, and after beating Chelsea 2-0 at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday, look good for a day out at Wembley in next month’s Capital One Cup final.
The Blues saw off a spirited Cheltenham Town on Monday evening, as David Moyes’ strong team selection paid off in a 5-1 win. Earlier in the week, victory at Newcastle got Everton back on winning ways, as Leighton Baines’ thunderbolt and Victor Anichebe’s substitute goal deemed an early Papiss Cissé header academic.
Danny Graham was the hero in Swansea City’s last Premier League game, when he netted an injury-time winner to save his team from an unlikely defeat to struggling Aston Villa. However, that game must seem an age ago to The Swans, who, after surrendering the lead, came back to score another late leveller, this time against Arsenal in the FA Cup; Graham again the saviour. As if the drama wasn’t already enough, Laudrup’s team travelled to Chelsea three days later for the first leg of their League Cup semi-final, where goals at the end of each half from Miguel Michu and, you guessed, Danny Graham, gave Swansea a remarkable lead to take back to Wales.
Everton are hopeful that Leighton Baines will shake off an ankle injury picked up on Monday to start against The Swans. John Heitinga could return to the team after missing the win over Cheltenham; however Darron Gibson (thigh), Tony Hibbert (calf) and likely Kevin Mirallas (hamstring) all miss out.
Swansea have near enough a clean bill of health ahead of the trip, with Neil Taylor being the only absentee.
The Blues have never lost to Swansea in competitive football, and since their return to top flight football last season, Moyes’ side have seen them off for six goals without reply. However, there is unlikely to be any complacency within the Everton camp; Swansea have shown throughout the last eighteen months, if not the last week, that they can mix it with anyone, and with a solid defence, ball-loving midfielders, lightning wingers, and some Spaniard that goes by Michu up top, another win for the hosts will represent a job well done.