Everton visit Swansea for Saturday’s lunchtime kick-off game, in a battle between the two early season high-fliers (12.45pm BST, Sept 22).
A win for either side would see them move into the top four by the end of the weekend, at worst. Both teams have started the Premier League campaign with two wins, a draw and a defeat from their opening four games.
Everton won both of last season’s fixtures between the sides, including a 2-0 victory in Wales. They started the new season in the best possible way with an inspired 1-0 victory over Manchester United thanks to a Marouane Fellaini goal.
They then beat Aston Villa 3-0 before losing 2-0 to West Brom in a surprise defeat after such promising early season form. Everton drew with Newcastle on Monday, but had every right to feel hard done by after seeing two valid goals chalked off thanks to a lack of goal line technology. Surely it is time for football to drag itself out of the middle ages and join tennis and rugby in using technology.
Ahead of this clash at Swansea, David Moyes is likely to be without Darren Gibson who suffered a thigh injury against West Brom and Nikica Jelavic, who came off just before half-time against Newcastle. In the absence of Jelavic, Victor Anichebe is likely to start alongside Kevin Mirallas. Anichebe marked his return to the side with a late goal against Newcastle, only to see Demba Ba score even later on.
Under new manager Michael Laudrup, Swansea made a storming start to the season, with a crushing 5-0 victory away at QPR being, followed up by a 3-0 victory at home to West Ham. Since then Swansea have slightly gone off the boil, with a 2-2 draw against Sunderland preceding their first defeat of the season to Aston Villa.
Swansea have proved that last season was no fluke and despite losing their manager Brandan Rodgers and star players Scott Sinclair and Joe Allen they have recruited well. Spaniards Pablo Hernandez, Michu and Chico were signed over the summer along with Jonathan de Guzman and Sung-Yong Ki.
Michu proved an instant success with three goals in his opening two games for the club, and with Nathan Dyer continuing to impress, their midfield has shown no signs of weakness following the departure of their two star players.
Swansea have signed Dutch youngster Dwight Tiendalli to provide cover after the serious injury sustained by Neil Taylor, and with Chico suspended this weekend after his red card against Sunderland, the youngster may be given a chance.
Swansea v Everton Betting Advice & Tips
Both teams have a similar upwardly-mobile profile and it is going to be a close encounter. With that in mind we advise:
- Back the draw @ best odds of 11/5 with William Hill.
- If you are feeling optimistic, then we reckon the correct score will be 1-1, which is biggest @ 6/1 with Betfred, Blue Square & William Hill.
- An adventurous selection for first goalscorer is Steven Pienaar @ a tempting 14/1 with Bet365 & Stan James.