As the season enters its final stretch, Everton are still well placed in the hunt for continental qualification, and a win against struggling Swansea City tomorrow would go a long way towards securing a European place. The Blues laboured to a late win against the Swans' Welsh rivals Cardiff City last time out, but with Garry Monk's side without a win in seven games in all competitions, Everton will go in to Saturday's encounter as heavy favourites.
There are no fresh injury worries for Everton this week, with Lacina Traore and Steven Pienaar both still recovering from hamstring and knee problems respectively. Roberto Martinez has stated that captain Phil Jagielka has a '50-50' chance of making his return to the side, though he may not be risked with John Stones having deputised ably in his absence.
Swansea will have to wait for late fitness checks on midfield duo Jonjo Shelvey and Nathan Dyer, but their talismanic forward Michu could return to the starting line up. The Spaniard made his first appearance for three months last week, coming on as a substitute in the defeat to West Brom.
Keys to the Game
Everton have dominated possession in both previous encounters with Swansea this season, but it has so far taken a combination of brilliant individual efforts and defensive errors to breach the Welsh side's back line. Whatever combination of Aiden McGeady, Kevin Mirallas and Gerard Deulofeu that Martinez decides to start with, the wings will play a crucial role, both as channels through which to launch counterattacks, and conduits for Leighton Baines and Seamus Coleman to rush forward. Both full backs have already netted against the Swans this season, and they will fancy their chances to do so again.
- Swansea have never beaten Everton in 19 attempts across all competitions, drawing five times and losing 14.
- The Toffees have lost just one of their last 23 Premier League home matches, winning 17 of those fixtures.
- In their last 15 league matches under Michael Laudrup and now Garry Monk, Swansea have only won twice, drawing five games and losing eight.