Everton play their final home game of 2011 on Wednesday night. The visitors are newly promoted Swansea. Everton will look to continue their impressive record against the Welsh side. The Toffees have won nine and drawn four of the side’s 13 meetings. The last meeting between the two sides was on 26th February 1983. The game finished 2-2 with Andy King scoring both Everton goals.
Everton will be desperate for three points having failed to beat Norwich on Saturday. Swansea will hope their impressive defence can lead them to another good result. The Swans drew 0-0 away, to high-flying Newcastle, last time out. Swansea’s 16 league games this season have seen them keep 8 clean sheets. Everton’s defence pales in comparison, with just 2 clean sheets in 15 league games.
Without a home clean sheet all season, Everton have picked up just 8 points from 8 home league games. The Toffees are prone to conceding first, this results in them playing catch up in matches. Everton have played 11 home games, in all competitions this season, and conceded first in 10 of them. Home and away, Everton have conceded first in 14 of their 18 matches this season.
There is a clear contrast in the two teams approach to winning football matches. Swansea’s tactics centre on ball retention and the monopolisation of possession; backed up by a hard-working defence. Swansea’s pass completion (86%) is almost 10% higher than Everton’s pass completion (77%). The Welsh side have made a staggering 2,669 more passes than Everton this season. (These stats do not include throw ins or goal kicks).
The visitors have attempted 34 through balls this season, compared to Everton’s 16. This highlights the lack of movement, from Everton’s forwards this season, meaning the midfield can’t play through balls in behind the opposition. Everton are more reliant on getting the ball wide and playing a cross into the opposition area.
Everton and Swansea have struggled for goals this season, with both notching just 16 in the league; although Everton have played a game less. Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea have scored more than Everton and Swansea; combined. Only Wigan and QPR have scored fewer goals, this season. A look at both sides’ shooting statistics makes it easy to see why both have struggled for goals.
Royston Drenthe and Denis Stracqualursi both made impressive cameos against Norwich and will be pushing for starts. Jack Rodwell picked up an injury during the warm up last week and the young midfielder is very doubtful (Hamstring). Seamus Coleman is doubtful after missing the Norwich game (Thigh).
Apostolos Vellios will hope for a recall after being left out, against Norwich, for a lack of effort in training. Victor Anichebe remains Everton’s only long-term absentee (Groin). Marouane Fellaini will look to get back on form after an indifferent display against Norwich.
One of Swansea’s flying wingers, Nathan Dyer, is out with an ankle injury. Angel Rangel is back in the squad, after a quicker than expected recovery from an ankle injury. Alan Tate and Ferrie Bodde stay on the sidelines; Tate is due to return in two months (Broken Leg) and Bodde’s return date is unknown (Knee).
Everton will look to counter Swansea’s passing game by pressing the ball high up the pitch. Everton have a much superior tackle success rate (80.08%) compared to Swansea’s (71.23%); they will try to dominate the midfield with their superior ability in 50/50 duels.
Given that Everton are yet to keep a clean sheet at home and Swansea have conceded 19 away from home; this match promises goals. The home side will need to cut out their habit of conceding first at home, as they look to improve their poor home form. The visitors will look to improve on their dismal away record.
Everton will be looking to sign off with a win and send their fans home with some pre-Christmas optimism. Swansea visit Goodison chasing a first away win of the season; victory would see them into the top half of the table. Given the form and respective records of the two teams, it promises to be a Christmas cracker.
9 - Of Swansea’s 16 goals have been scored by Danny Graham or Scott Sinclair
27 - Games since Tim Cahill last scored for Everton
56 - % of Everton’s goals that have come in the last 15 minutes of matches; a league high
63 - Saves made by Michel Vorm, this season. Only Brad Friedel and Wayne Hennessey have made more
198 - Minutes between Vellios’ goal against Bolton and Everton’s next shot on target
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