Friday, 31 October 2014

#FlashbackFour - Everton vs Swansea

Nathan Lewis returns with his weekly look back at the last four fixtures versus our upcoming opponents. This week, it's Everton's turn...

Every club has a bogey team. I would argue that Roberto Martinez’s Everton are as close as we have to such a team. Under David Moyes, they seemed to have perfected the high pressing and solid defending that prevented us from playing our game, and under Martinez, Everton never seem an easy game. What does the #FlashbackFour reveal about our supposed bogey team? Let’s have a look...

22nd December 2013 - Premier League
Swansea 1-2 Everton

From the moment he stepped up, you just knew it wasn’t going to end well for us. Before Ross Barkley’s impressive free-kick from 25 yards curled neatly into the top corner past the outstretched hand of Gerhard Tremmel, the scorelines were surprisingly still level. Every now and then, it seems Swansea have a match where they can’t maintain possession or control of a game, but manage to stay within reach (see Tuesday’s game at Anfield for an example). 

Everton certainly were deserved winners in the end, having originally taken the lead through a powerful 20-yard strike from Seamus Coleman on the right, for which Tremmel would have been left wondering whether he could have been better, but it was swerving a fair amount. The Swans equaliser came from that most unlikely of sources: Dwight Tiendalli (via Brian Oviedo, but still…), and for a little while, it seemed that we would gain a valuable point. It wasn’t to be however, and Ross Barkley pinged a lovely free-kick into the top corner to steal all three for Everton.

16th February 2014 - F.A. Cup
Everton 3-1 Swansea

In just his third game as manager, Garry Monk was faced with an important decision to make. Field a strong eleven following three games in seven days, and risk tiring our big stars ahead of Liverpool in the league, or field a second eleven and risk sacrificing a cup run. In what was possibly a decent decision, given our poor Premier League form, Monk picked a side containing the likes of Vazquez, Lamah and Jazz Richards. His players certainly put in the effort, impressing in the early stages, and only conceding due to a defensive lapse which allowed Lacina Traore to open the scoring. 

It could have been one-nil Swansea before the Everton goal, with Alvaro Vazquez through on goal, before panicking, stopping and eventually passing to Lamah, who wasted the chance. The Swans continued to impress, equalising in the 15th minute through a Jon De Guzman header. Unfortunately, their hard work was undone by two mistakes at the back. First, Neil Taylor misjudged his backpass, allowing Steven Naismith to slot it past Tremmel. This was followed by Jazz Richards – who had mostly impressed – bringing down Naismith to give away a penalty, which was of course put away by Leighton Baines.

22nd March 2014 - Premier League
Everton 3-2 Swansea

"Welcome back to the side, Chico - now just don’t do anything silly like fouling Barkley in the bo- Oh, never mind." Giving away a penalty is hardly the best way to start a game against a notoriously tough opponent, and this gave Everton the early momentum. They were unable to make the most of it however, with Bony scoring in the 33rd minute to level the scores and gain us a foothold in the match. We had the better of the chances before half-time, but couldn’t find the final pass. 

Two goals early in the second-half secured the points for Martinez and his side, with Lukaku scoring his 11th goal of the season, before a header from Ross Barkley made it three. The Swans fought hard to get back into the match, with Bony stinging the hands of Tim Howard, who also denied Pablo from close range. We eventually got a goal from the head of Ashley Williams, but it was no more than a consolation, and we fell to another loss at Goodison Park.

23rd September 2014 - Capital One Cup
Swansea 3-0 Everton

Around the same time as this match from a month ago, the film “Jack to a King” was released, charting our rise from financial ruin to the Premier League, and this match certainly felt like another step up in the rise of Swansea City Football Club, regardless of the line-ups or the competition in which it was played. For the first time in our history, we beat Everton, meaning we progressed to the Fourth Round of the Capital One Cup (the less we talk about that the better, I feel…). I imagine Tony Hibbert is still haunted by all things Ecuador, after the torrid time he endured at the hands (or rather feet) of Jefferson Montero. 

Montero, as always, looked very lively and was always willing to take his man on. This direct running from Jeff eventually led to our first goal, after he beat Hibbert and fired a low ball across the box for Nathan Dyer to sweep it in. Our second goal was one of the more strange goals you’ll see, Sylvain Distin heading the ball over Tim Howard and onto his own crossbar, before Gylfi raced onto the loose ball and guided it home. The victory seemed secure, with Everton not providing too much danger for our defenders, but the three points were truly secured when sub Marvin Emnes raced onto a through-ball before drilling a shot into the bottom corner of the net.
A victory. Finally!

Games Played: 4
Wins: 1
Draws: 0
Losses: 3
Goals scored: 7
Goals Conceded: 8

The last four matches between Everton and Swansea have been full of goals, with 15 goals being scored in just four games. Under Martinez, Everton have hardly been the epitomy of defensive solidity, so Wilf and Gylfi will be looking forward to Saturday’s game. The Swans, meanwhile, have one of the best defensive records in the league so far, and will hope that Ash (and whoever ends up being his central partner) can deal with the likes of Eto’o and Lukaku. I can’t see Tony Hibbert starting though, can you?

My prediction: Everton 2-1 Swansea

Thanks to Nathan for his weekly #FlashbackFour - you can follow him on Twitter @NathDavidLewis. Do you agree with his prediction? Can we get a second win over Everton? Get in touch using the comment section below.