The Swans had an excellent first season under Michael Laudrup, winning the Capital One Cup and finishing ninth – building on the fine work that Brendan Rodgers and Martinez had conducted during their time in Wales. However, this season seems to have been a slightly ‘stop-start’ beginning to the campaign. Competing in the Europa League has clearly had an effect on their league form but has rewarded them with a last 32 tie against Rafa Benitez’s Napoli.
The visitors on the other hand have been in excellent form in Martinez’s first season in charge of the Toffees and are looking to mount a challenge for the top four – something the former Wigan and Swansea manager promised in his first press conference when being presented for the first time as Everton manager. It has been ten games since the Blues last lost – their only defeat of the season – which has got some of the Goodison faithful perhaps dreaming of more than a challenge for Champions League qualification, given the next couple of fixtures and the encounters Everton have already faced.
For the hosts, Leon Britton and Chico Flores are in contention to return after Britton recovered from a toe injury and Flores returning from suspension. However the Jacks will be without Nathan Dyer who suffered ankle ligament damage in last week’s encounter against Norwich. In addition Michel Vorm has undergone ankle surgery and Gary Monk is still out with a knee problem. Michu is a doubt for Sunday’s fixture also with an ankle problem.
Leighton Baines, recovering from a fractured toe, is hopeful of making a return in the Toffees’ Boxing Day clash with Sunderland but will be out of tomorrow’s encounter. After suffering a hamstring injury against Fulham last week, Gerard Deulofeu is out for six to eight weeks. Tony Hibbert is not ready to return to the first team as he is still recovering from a knee injury. One player returning to the Everton line-up will be the impressive James McCarthy after completing his suspension for five yellow cards.
Goalkeepers: Tremmel and Zabret.
Defenders: Amat, Davies, Flores, Richards, Taylor, Tiendalli and Williams.
Midfielders: Britton, Canas, De Guzman, Hernandez, Lamah, Pozuelo, Routledge and Shelvey.
Forwards: Bony, Michu and Vazquez.
Goalkeepers: Howard and Robles.
Defenders: Alcaraz, Coleman, Distin, Heitinga, Jagielka, Oviedo and Stones.
Midfielders: Barkley, Barry, McCarthy, Mirallas, Pienaar and Osman.
Forwards: Jelavic, Lukaku and Naismith.
Swansea have failed to win against Everton in all four Premier League fixtures against the Toffees; losing three and drawing one, failing to score in all four encounters.
Everton have never lost to Swansea in any competition – winning twelve and drawing five.
Swansea could become the first side to accumulate 10,000 passes this season with a total of 9549 passes already made; an average of 597 per game.
Swansea have only taken 38 points from 34 league games in 2013.
Everton have lost the fewest games in the Premier League this season with the solitary one.
The Toffees have conceded the joint-fewest goals this season in the Premier League alongside Southampton, with 15.
Everton and West Ham have kept the most clean sheets in the league this season with eight.
Everton defenders have supplied more goals than any other Premier League club this season, with seven.
If Everton are to challenge for a top four finish it is vital that they win at grounds like Swansea; a successful ground for them in the past. Furthermore, with Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Newcastle all winning today the importance of picking up a win at the Liberty is only staked at a higher price.