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Williams braced for Swansea reunion as Everton look to bounce back from Chelsea thrashing

Toffees face Bob Bradley’s struggling Swans at Goodison Park

Everton v Swansea City - Premier League Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

It’s been a long two weeks hasn’t it?

The third international break in as many months has been a particularly tough one to endure given the horror show against Chelsea last time out.

In one sense it has been a welcome chance to get away from Everton for a bit, such was the brutal nature of their hammering at Stamford Bridge.

However, being left to stew on such an awful result for 14 tortuous days has proven equally unpalatable.

Ronald Koeman has certainly been busy, first talking up Romelu Lukaku’s departure to the Belgian press before clarifying his comments a few days later.

The Dutchman also conceded his side’s performance in the 5-0 defeat at Chelsea was simply not good enough.

A response therefore is essential against Swansea, not least because the fixture list beyond Saturday looks worryingly treacherous.

Southampton, Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool and Leicester all lie in wait before the end of the year.


Returning to Goodison Park certainly helps. Everton remain unbeaten in the league at home under Koeman and have won five and drawn three of their last eight Premier League matches on Merseyside in all.

As a result anything other than three points on Saturday would be regarded as a disappointment given Everton’s ambitions this campaign.

The opposition

Only David Moyes’ calamitous Sunderland side are keeping Swansea off the bottom of the league, and even that is by a single goal.

Four points from their opening seven games accounted for previous boss Francesco Guidolin, with former USA coach Bob Bradley replacing him at the start of last month.

Bradley, the first American to manage in the Premier League, has endured an equally difficult start, collecting just one point from his first four games in charge – and even that was a turgid goalless draw at home to Watford.

It represents Swansea’s worst start to a league season since 1983, while a failure to collect three points on Saturday will equal their worst winless run since 2000 when they were in the old Division Two.

Their cause hasn’t been helped by the steady departure of key players over recent seasons, most notably long-serving captain Ashley Williams to Everton this summer.

As a result Bradley has been forced to deny his side are in “crisis” even if the table suggests differently.

It already looks like the Swans face a difficult winter battling against relegation.

Team news

Leighton Baines and James McCarthy are both fit to return to the squad after recovering from hamstring injuries.

Gareth Barry missed out through suspension but fellow midfielder Idrissa Gueye returns after a one game ban.

Swansea could recall Nathan Dyer after the midfielder recovered from ankle surgery.

Jefferson Montero could also feature wearing cast to protect the hand he broke against Manchester United earlier this month.

Final word

Everton’s home form is propping up their season and like their win over West Ham last time out, a result on Saturday looks vital as the Toffees prepare to head into a tough run of festive fixtures.

Swansea have looked desperately poor at times this season and the appointment of Bradley has yet to spark them into life.

If Everton are to compete for a European spot these are the sorts of games they simply have to win.

Predicted starting XI: Stekelenberg, Baines, Jagielka, Williams, Coleman, Gueye, Cleverley, Bolasie, Barkley, Lennon, Lukaku.