Swansea City 0 - 0 Everton
Steven Naismith started for Everton against Swansea following his perfect hat-trick that destroyed Chelsea last week. Tyias Browning made his full league dÃ©but, preferred at right-back with Ramiro Funes Mori staying on the bench, where Mirallas and Deulofeu once again awaited their chances.
Coleman was ruled out injured with a hamstring problem, as was Mo Besic. Others still on the lengthy injury list were Baines, Pienaar, Hibbert, Cleverley, and Oviedo, although Gibson returned to be among the subs for the first time this season.
Swansea kicked off but Everton soon gained possession and started to control the pace of the game. Browning fouled Montero early on, allowing Swansea to press, Montero getting around Browning to cross but the move ended with Ayew catching Jagielka on the back of the head and sustaining a bloody nose.
Everton tried to draw Swansea out with some patient tippy-tappy but then switched to a couple of longer balls in an effort to change things. Lukaku ended up losing possession trying to hold up the ball, but Everton got it back and looked to play some neat passing that eventually won a good free-kick opportunity when Naismith was fouled on the edge of the dee. Lukaku's curler was headed away for a corner.
From a second corner, Everton pressed hard, Barkley fizzing in a great cross that Williams stretched to clear, and Jagielka headed the next Barkley corner just over.
Swansea attacked down their right and Gomis had a good first-time strike, fortunately straight at Howard. Gomis then got a gift off a poor Barry header but drove his shot wide. Swansea had successfully upped the pace, winning their first corner after good switch of play.
A tremendous break down the right should have ended better with Naismith taking an extra touch rather than shooting and getting blocked. Everton needed to defend as Swansea complained about incidents that were nothing.
Stones went down with a knee injury after a clip from Jack Cork and Swansea were annoyed when the game was stopped. Everton needed to play more possession but McCarthy played the ball out needlessly, and Galloway then produced a foul throw, as the game became increasingly scrappy, which favoured the home side.
Galloway won a free-kick after a good Naismith pass and from the set-piece, Naismith fired in, Lukaku deflecting it straight to Fabianski. Kone was controling the ball well and almost played in Jagielka for a cross. More good attacking play from Everton saw Lukaku cross in but straight to Fabianski.
Everton re-exerted more control but the Swans sat back and took most of the slow build-up play in their stride. Some really intricate stuff preceded a poor shot skied by Kone. Barkley made a good run and fed Lukaku whose wicked shot was glanced over by an outstretched leg. Another Barkley corner was played in well but nothing developed from it.
Everton were passing it well and looking to build through the middle until Lukaku was too easily dispossessed, and another spell of scrappy play at least gave the home crowd something to shout about but the rare Swansea attack ended in an Everton goalkick.
Everton had controlled the game superbly at times but repeated sloppiness, especially from McCarthy needed sharp defensive work. Cork clipped Kone cynically but the referee played on as Everton attacked. At the next stoppage, 5 minutes later, Cork was booked. Good refereeing.
Swansea got an advantage when Naismith fouled Ayew and Shelvey curled the free-kick in but Everton defended away again, having dominated the half and contained the Swansea threat very well, Browning doing better and better at thwarting Montero.
Everton resumed after the break but it was Swansea who put together the first attack, Montero's cross being met by Ayew and Gomis, who got in eachother's way.
Barkley did well to fire in a brilliant cross that Kone with goal gaping somehow missed completely. Galloway then created his own great chance after brilliant work by Barkley but drove past the far post when perhaps a cross to the middle might have been the better choice if any of the strikers had thought about a tap-in. But great confidence from the lad.
A superb play by Swansea would have seen an easy goal but for the brilliant defending of John Stones, who played it out well with a casual side-foot ball forward to Barry who played in Lukaku perfectly but an utterly shocking attempt saw the ball fly high and wide off the foot of the big man. Best chance so far squandered.
Everton put themselves under pressure when Barkley was dispossessed and Barry almost gave away a penalty. Sigurdsson tried to force the free-kick in at the near post but Howard was all over it as the side netting rippled.
A chance for a break was played a little too slow but almost saw Lukaku convert after Barkley's shot was blocked and careened toward the Belgian at the far post. However, he waited for the bounce rather than attacking the ball and any chance was gone. The hour mark and surely time for Mirallas or Deulofeu to give Everton a different dimension? Instead it was Monk bringing Ki on for Sigurdsson.
Browning and Montero went at it again, Montero seemed beaten but somehow turned and fired in a shot that needed pushing over by Howard. The game was a bit more open now, with both sides seeing the need for a higher intensity. More good defending needed from Everton before Deulofeu replaced Kone.
Gomis got forward and seemed to have a clear chance but Howard was well positioned to pat it down. Galloway was called upon to defend and floored Kyle Naughton, but fairly, said referee Bassett, much to Swansea's chagrin.
Deulofeu's first involvement was brilliance at the level of Ronaldo himself, fantastic stepovers and a pinpoint cross that just needed a touch from the incoming Lukaku and Naismith. Galloway then had a great shot blocked, likewise Barkley as tremendous Everton pressure again brought no reward.
Browning got booked for a nothing tackle from behind on Montero. Barkley again did brilliantly to feed the feet of Lukaku in a glorious position but yet again he thought it better to employ a pathetic first touch rather than dominate the ball and lash it goalwards.
Everton had almost completely controlled the game with some really confident and dominating play but the inability to convert chances could cost them dear despite some fantastic defending, with Stones imperious, the most fitting description.
Deulofeu switched sides but lost the ball before then playing it to Naismith in a crowd and he could not get his effort on target after a swift turn. Again, brilliant work from Barkley but he could not dig out a shot, with Galloway doing well, although a little hesitant and needing quicker decision-making to beat a solid Swansea defence.
Deulofeu did another trademark dance to the byeline and low cross but too close to Fabianski. With time ticking away, Swansea pushed forward but Shelvey could only sky his shot. Mirallas was given the impossible task, replacing the superb Barkley in added time, as Barrow beat Galloway but again the Everton defense made sure Howard was not exposed.
Everton were under a little pressure at the end, both Galloway and Browning doing the Row Z clearances, and Howard needing to come out to deny Ki. Mirallas felt the need to get involved and got a straight red from his first play for going over the ball and onto a defender's ankle. From the free-kick, Ki almost scored, firing over.
Total domination from Everton, it's hard to convey exactly how they controlled so many aspects of this game... except the most important one... FINISHING!
Swansea City: Fabianski, Naughton, Fernandez, Williams, Taylor, Cork [Y:45'], Shelvey, Ayew [Y:80'] (87' Barrow), Sigurdsson (60' Ki Sung-Yueng), Montero, Gomis (81' Eder).
Subs not Used: Nordfeldt, Rangel, Bartley, Routledge.
Everton: Howard, Galloway, Stones, Jagielka, Browning [74'], Barry [Y:55'], McCarthy, Naismith, Barkley (90+1' Mirallas [R:90+2']), Kone (65' Deulofeu), Lukaku.
Subs not Used: Robles, Funes Mori, Gibson, Osman, Lennon.
Referee: Stuart Attwell