Though the Blues did not get the credit they deserved for it, performances and results don't come much better than last weekend's 3-1 win over Chelsea, regardless of how poor a start they have made to the defence of their Premier League title, and it has many Evertonians opining that things are starting to feel a lot like Roberto Martinez's first season in charge.
Last Saturday was a terrific morale-booster in that it lays down a marker for how this team can play and the calibre of opposition it can overcome; now, however, they have to back it up with some consistency in terms of displays and results. As has been eloquently stated elsewhere this week, Everton under Martinez have been frustratingly unpredictable over the past two seasons but they remain a talented group with enormous potential if they get things clicking week in, week out.
As one of the match-ups against teams that finished in top eight last season that make up the Blues' first 10 matches of the season, this weekend's trip to Swansea City promises to be a difficult assignment. Like Southampton, the Swans were one of the surprise packages of last season and with Gary Monk's prudent transfer policy, they have improved their squad over the summer, most notably with the acquisition of Andre Ayew.
The Ghanaian has made the instant impact in the Premier League that many predicted he would, while Bafetimbi Gomis is finally showing his mettle as a finisher. The duo have scored seven of the Welsh side's eight goals this season and both were on the scoresheet in their last home game as they beat Manchester United 2-1. It's that kind of dynamism spearheading an accomplished passing side that will occupy Martinez's thinking as he prepares to face his old club again at the Liberty Stadium.
Unlike Monk who has almost no such concerns, the Catalan could also be facing a selection dilemma as he waits on the fitness of two players who started the Chelsea game but didn't finish due to injury on the one hand and mulls the game-changing intervention of one of his enforced substitutes. Muhamed Besic and Coleman will be given every opportunity to pass a fitness test before the manager names his team but it's highly likely that neither player will be risked given the fact that both had to come off with suspected hamstring strains.
The Bosnian missed almost all of the pre-season programme with a similar complaint while the Irishman was dogged by soft-tissue injuries in the latter part of last year so Martinez could be forgiven for exercising caution with them. Given Steven Naismith's star turn off the bench as Besic's replacement, he could be a shoo-in for a starting role in an attacking three alongside Romelu Lukaku and Arouna Kone, with Barkley in the same slightly withdrawn role he occupied after that first substitution. Kevin Mirallas, a star performer in this fixture three seasons ago, will likely have to be content with a place on the bench again.
It's the right back issue that is a little more vexing. With Tony Hibbert still battling to overcome his own injury problems, Martinez has to decide whether to go with experience in the form of John Stones in that role (but with the obvious compromise at centre half where Ramiro Funes Mori could be in line for a debut) or deploy the likes of Tyias Browning or Matthew Pennington there. Bryan Oviedo's absence at left back means that Brendan Galloway would be required in that position and would therefore preclude him from playing in the centre alongside Phil Jagielka.
Martinez has made much of the mentality of his players and his satisfaction with the depth of his squad so despite a burgeoning list of injuries or players absent through lack of fitness, he will be confident that even with some patching up and inexperience in his ranks, his team can get a result against Swansea.
The Swans faltered at Watford last weekend despite playing with a numerial advantage of much of the second hald so there are vulnerabilities to exploit. As ever, the keys to Everton's success will be defensive solidity and finding ways to feed Lukaku up front. Get off to a flyer like they did at Southampton last month and things could work out very well.
Kick off: 3pm
Referee: Stuart Attwell
Predicted Line-up: Howard, Browning, Stones, Jagielka, Galloway, Barry, McCarthy, Barkley, Naismith, Kone, Lukaku
Quotes sourced from ToffeeWeb Match Reports
Reader Comments (83)
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1 Posted 18/09/2015 at 07:28:03
2 Posted 18/09/2015 at 07:47:23
A) Browning Stones Jagielka Galloway
B) Stones Jagielka Funes Mori Galloway
I would still play Coleman if he is fit, then introduce Funes Mori in the second half to get him some game time. Rest Coleman for the Reading game and start with Funes Mori.
3 Posted 18/09/2015 at 08:29:31
They will be desperate to make amends for their loss at Watford, and with Shelvey operating in the middle of the park, we will have our hands full. Hopefully we can catch them on the break, as, despite his attributes, Williams isn't the quickest, and tends to give away a lot of free-kicks outside the box against pacey players. We need to get at him, get him on a yellow early on, and then put on Deulofeu or Mirallas to turn the screw. Lennon played well there last year scoring a goal, so I wouldn't be surprised if Bobby brought him on at some point, so our other wingers may well find it another frustrating afternoon on the bench.
We have to score to get anything from the Liberty, as I am sure that the Jacks will get a goal themselves. A draw would be a good result, but with our tails up, I fancy us to nick this one.
4 Posted 18/09/2015 at 08:32:38
Wish I was going, but can't wait for the trips to Reading and West Brom.... COYB
5 Posted 18/09/2015 at 09:13:45
It can on many occasions be a damp squib that doesn't reach the previous week's expectations so it's imperative that we keep our momentum building with a solid result tomorrow. A draw at Swansea you'd have to say would be a pretty good result these days.
Of course out of these next two away games, I'd rather win one and lose one than draw both, it's wins that get you places in the league. Getting 6 points would be a dream although 4 points would be very very pleasing too along with a safe passage through the next round of the League Cup on Tuesday.
Let's keep going at it Blues!
7 Posted 18/09/2015 at 09:19:26
This is real competition for places; well done to Kone and Naismith for that!!
8 Posted 18/09/2015 at 09:21:16
I am not sure if Montero will be fit for Swansea but he is undoubtedly the quickest winger in the Premier League. So, while the temptation might be to move Stones to right back, Stones has many attributes but pace isn't one of them. If Montero is fit, I hope RM gives Browning a start.
9 Posted 18/09/2015 at 09:25:39
Browning is a beast... I just hope he comes on again and pushes Galloway et al in the pecking order.
10 Posted 18/09/2015 at 09:52:51
If there was a banana skin, after such a win against Chelsea, this is it. The Swans have a few talented individuals, but also generally work hard as a team too.
Let's face it, they are well capable of turning top sides over, as has been demonstrated in the past. I just hope and pray, that we can carry on the good work from Saturday. We certainly have the squad to do it, and competition for places helps too.
11 Posted 18/09/2015 at 09:55:08
I would send him out on loan until at least Christmas to help him sort himself out.
12 Posted 18/09/2015 at 10:21:33
13 Posted 18/09/2015 at 10:24:22
Re Montero being the quickest winger in the league.
Is that a fact? I'd be interested to see a top 10 fastest players in the league... I wonder if any Everton players are on the list? Deulofeu or Lennon surely have to be our quickest. We're actually pretty well blessed in that department for the first time in ages.
14 Posted 18/09/2015 at 11:39:09
Howard, as everyone knows, will start. Stones, Jagiekla & Funes Mori would be the CB trio.
Lennon as a right wing back (due to work rate) and Galloway as a left wing back.
In a perfect world, the three at the back would negate the need for two holding midfielders so we could go with McCarthy and Barkley as the middle tandem with Lukaku, Kone and Naismith as the three operating in-front of them.
Might work? But then why change a winning formula?
15 Posted 18/09/2015 at 11:47:32
16 Posted 18/09/2015 at 12:22:07
More than likely (after Bobby bigging him up) he will bring in Funes Mori and switch either Jags or Stones to right back.
Tough game, as Gomis is scoring for fun. The easiest way to negate Shelvey is wind him up, stand forward, Naismith, little niggly bastard that he is, little clips at the heel, elbows etc and he will see red and lose his way and hopefully get subbed/sent off.
After last week we would expect a win, but I am always worried about managers playing teams they managed previously, as they seem to slip up so often.
17 Posted 18/09/2015 at 12:32:31
Coleman Stones Jagielka Galloway
McCarthy Barry Barkley
Lennon Lukaku Naismith
I wouldn't change the team much at all. Confidence is high and you have to reward those who beat Chelsea.
Saying that, I think Lennon offers more protection than Kone so for an away match I would go with him. Especially if Coleman is out and Browning is in.
@11 Utter rubbish. Browning had nerves of steel against Man Utd and the RS last season so not sure where you coming from with that post.
Mirallas and Deulofeu will need some game-time though. Neither the kind to be happy on the bench.
18 Posted 18/09/2015 at 13:20:41
However, I would sooner be facing the Swans rather than a less talented team where it would be more likely a let-down possibility.
Swansea are a very good team and it will be tough to win but if they can keep the wingers at bay especially early then they can get a result.
A fully fit Coleman would be a boost for the Blues.
19 Posted 18/09/2015 at 13:42:16
Against Liverpool he looked good in the 20 or so minutes he played; against Man Utd, he looked and played very nervous; against the Russian team last year in the Europa League match he was poor; against Man City he looked like he didn't want to be on the pitch, but he was out of position so I'll forget that one.
It will be interesting to see if he plays against Swansea to see how he performs. I'm not against the lad, I wouldn't play him for his own good. I hope if he plays he does well and proves me wrong.
21 Posted 18/09/2015 at 14:54:04
I am not sure how they measure it but Sissoko is apparently the fastest at 22 mph and Phil Jagielka (last year's fastest) was measured at just over 21mph.
Cant understand why the likes of Lennon and Walcott don't figure.
22 Posted 18/09/2015 at 15:05:52
Barry and McCarthy pick themselves or so it seems.
The real conundrum for me is who we play further up the field. Swansea do not like pace so Lennon and Mirallas should be in contention.
Barkley is finally showing some consistency and can shoot from outside the box (something we have been lacking in recent years).
Kone appears to be the best at holding the ball up but does not score enough.
Naismith deserves another run after last weeks heroics.
Lukaku is due a goal or two.
23 Posted 18/09/2015 at 15:28:40
Consistency is the key to a winning mentality; Swansea is a tough ask but if we can put in a shift like we did against Southampton we can get a result.
I have been well impressed with The Swans this season with Shelvey pulling the strings and Gomez hitting the goals. I would love to us to get a win but I can't help thinking we will put in one those ordinary performances as we saw against Spurs; therefore, I am going for a score draw 2-2.
24 Posted 18/09/2015 at 15:48:57
25 Posted 18/09/2015 at 16:28:43
26 Posted 18/09/2015 at 16:53:41
Sorry, but I can't agree to laying down such a gauntlet. In a season of 38 games, each worth three points, the illogical absurdity of such a statement hinging on Game #6 I find really exasperating.
Yes, we play in the League Cup too... and as we all know, we could progress or not. If we do progress, we could fail at the next hurdle... or not. Etc etc. Marathon, sprint. Head-wall-bang...
Do we really have to know in the next 7 days how the season is going to pan out?
28 Posted 18/09/2015 at 17:17:21
You have managed to avoid using any term of ridicule or scorn, I would have failed there.
29 Posted 18/09/2015 at 17:32:38
I just hope we can 'show up' in all three games over the next week, that will prove to me that we can expect some kind of consistency over the season.
30 Posted 18/09/2015 at 17:33:21
32 Posted 18/09/2015 at 17:51:05
33 Posted 18/09/2015 at 18:00:23
We need to show some consistency and this coming week is a good chance to gauge where we are this year.
34 Posted 18/09/2015 at 18:37:02
Only other games to really feel our level is against unexpected leaders like Leicester, Swansea and Palace, Swans being the next up. Of course, we can say anything can happen (injuries or others) but if we can build upon the win last week, that will get us feeling good hopefully through the derby.
35 Posted 18/09/2015 at 18:41:17
The old adage, take each game as it comes is as true now as it was in 1888. If we are 1 point better off than at least 16 other clubs at the end of the season, it doesn't matter which sides were beaten or when â€” it's the final tally that counts compared to the rest of the teams.
36 Posted 18/09/2015 at 18:42:38
Still, I look forward to our performance against Swans to get a feel for how we're coping with the teams that have "bolstered better than us", or so that's what the media said. All games are important but none mark us better than a close rival.
37 Posted 18/09/2015 at 19:37:14
Jokes aside, yes, that was a sorry tale in which we had a tough run in to that season. My optimism for this season is that we're getting the tough matches first. So my logic is, if we can stay ahead of our competition early, the easier games will be, ahem, easier. Not a cakewalk since that doesn't exist IRL.
38 Posted 18/09/2015 at 19:45:39
After Chelsea, I am in an agony of hope, with just over 2 weeks before our next Goodison game, and I so desperately want us to stuff the RS, and I've got two tickets in the Park End...
39 Posted 18/09/2015 at 19:49:34
40 Posted 18/09/2015 at 20:26:29
41 Posted 18/09/2015 at 22:02:06
42 Posted 18/09/2015 at 22:59:46
Pennington Stones Jagielka Galloway
Lennon McCarthy Barry
I think Martinez fancies Pennington, but will use the more industrious, defensive mind set of Lennon rather than Mirallas or Deulofeu to help Pennington out. Naismith will be totally down if left out but, with Coleman missing, we need a wide man in to help Pennington.
43 Posted 18/09/2015 at 23:01:50
44 Posted 18/09/2015 at 00:00:48
I wouldn't like to be Roberto at the minute if I'm honest. Deulofeu and Mirallas both deserve a go after their cup performances a few weeks back, plus Naismith bagged a hat-trick last week. If he decides to start rotating and brings in Mirallas and Deulofeu I'm sure everyone will be OK with that, on one condition: we win. Roberto is starting to win the crowd back over so he has to get the next two away games tactically spot on. Also, if he wants to keep the squad happy, he has to play these lads soon as I'm certain Mirallas will be hoping for a decent run in the side sooner rather than later as will Deulofeu. I suppose that's why he's on big money and is privileged enough to manage Everton Football Club.
If he decides to start rotating and brings in Mirallas and Deulofeu I'm sure everyone will be OK with that, on one condition: we win. Roberto is starting to win the crowd back over so he has to get the next two away games tactically spot on.
Also, if he wants to keep the squad happy, he has to play these lads soon as I'm certain Mirallas will be hoping for a decent run in the side sooner rather than later as will Deulofeu. I suppose that's why he's on big money and is privileged enough to manage Everton Football Club.
45 Posted 19/09/2015 at 00:11:57
I know the guy wore red. I know I'm supposed to hate him.
But I love watching him play. I think he's one of the most underrated players in the Premier League. He plays some beautiful balls that just require a level of vision that mere mortals don't have.
This Swansea team scares me. They're very good.
Cue Herculean effort. We can win this, but it's going to be hard-fought. Not in a blood and guts way perhaps, but we're in for one hell of a stern test.
46 Posted 19/09/2015 at 00:35:00
47 Posted 19/09/2015 at 00:36:34
48 Posted 19/09/2015 at 03:26:48
Our usual sense of dread has been banished and this promises to be a mouth-watering encounter. I anticipate it to be a high scoring game with us hopefully coming out on top. I base that forecast wholly on Martinez throwing the kitchen sink at them.
Was it Churchill who said it is better to die on your feet rather than live on your knees?
49 Posted 19/09/2015 at 04:40:30
Let Swansea play their game and hit them quick and hard on the counter, take your pick of three wingers as a second half sub, that's if Lennon don't start in place of Kone, possibility but I doubt it.
But which Everton will turn up, the one v Chelsea or the one v Spurs, or somewhere in between, you never know with our lot. Just as well I'll be on the sauce (as I am every game) so I can celebrate/commiserate (delete as appropriate) either way.
Enough of the jargon, just kick 'em all over the park and let's do these fuckers.
50 Posted 19/09/2015 at 05:56:09
And seriously, he's something now that he has never been before. Fit.
51 Posted 19/09/2015 at 05:56:46
Talking of covers - nice wind-up by the English RU - can't wait to see the All Blacks' on-field reaction !!
52 Posted 19/09/2015 at 06:07:01
53 Posted 19/09/2015 at 06:16:25
He looked good in the 17 minutes he played against Chelsea and I was impressed by the way he brought the ball out of defence, looking to set up another attack, before being cynically chopped down by Costa. Welcome to the Premier League, Ramiro!
54 Posted 19/09/2015 at 06:18:38
55 Posted 19/09/2015 at 06:31:10
We usually have our season defining few weeks in the January window when we are pushing for a CL placing and fail to strengthen, only to fall short due to lack of squad depth.
56 Posted 19/09/2015 at 07:43:08
Does anyone remember Shoot magazine visiting every club in the late 80s early 90s to record teams fastest player, longest thrower, hardest shooter etc. Ironically it was a Swansea player who was the fastest back then — a postman called John Williams!
57 Posted 19/09/2015 at 07:59:03
58 Posted 19/09/2015 at 08:23:13
I think after last week, they will be just as scared of us, as some of you seem to be fearing Swansea.
I will go Swansea 2 Everton 1
59 Posted 19/09/2015 at 08:27:14
I hope this proves to be a purely academic question, but if Stones has to go to right back and Funes Mori comes in to partner Jags, we will have an element of uncertainty that could restrict our ambitions. We have depended on Coleman's forays down the right wing for much of our ammunition, and I can't see Stones doing the same (as good as he is on the ball).
With a new centre-back pairing too, there could be some teething troubles. Let's hope Coleman makes the cut.
60 Posted 19/09/2015 at 09:24:39
Lennon (Kone if Seamus is fit)
62 Posted 19/09/2015 at 09:57:53
Wasn't Stuart Barlow our fastest player?
I hope Deulofeu gets some game time today. He must be getting a bit pissed-off, especially after the Barnsley game.
63 Posted 19/09/2015 at 10:30:35
Stones, Jagielka, Funes Mori,
Lennon, Barry, Galloway,
If Coleman is fit, which I doubt, same as last week.
Re: Jonjoe Shelvey, sounds like a jockey, looks like a gargoyle, but I think the RedShite missed a trick letting him go. He is twice the player Henderson is.
64 Posted 19/09/2015 at 11:03:16
Lennon was a poor panic-buy... I just don't get it one bit.
65 Posted 19/09/2015 at 12:02:40
I agree with that line-up (Funes Mori to come on later in the game perhaps).
In my opinion, it would be wrong and pretty foolish to drop Naismith after last week's brilliant performance.
66 Posted 19/09/2015 at 12:25:14
That isn't how you achieve success over a league season. In fact Man Utd were successful for years doing the opposite, they might lose a big game, but they'd jolly well win the next five and end up with more points than the team that beat them.
The point is that this game is exactly as big as the Chelsea game, both points wise, but also because the consistency needed to be successful will require picking up points in slightly more 'under the radar' fixtures like this, and this is a big test of whether we can do this, against a very good Premier League side
As for the line-up, obviously Naismith should start on the bench and come on after nine minutes.
67 Posted 19/09/2015 at 12:31:03
I think that we should start with Naismith. Why change a winning format? See how the match develops. We have some speedy and potential match winners to come of the bench. And lets not start knocking Naismith, should a pass go astray. We need to be tight at the back. And maybe, just maybe Lukaku will turn up today.
We can win this today. I don't hold Swansea in as much regard as some of my fellow supporters. Naismith to carry on from last week. With a goal. Lukaku also to score. Barkley to have a stormer. No more tippy tappy. Br more direct. Be positive.
A good win today and Reading to come. 3-0. 3-1 or a crazy 4-1. Why not? Make my day Mr Martinez. COYBs
68 Posted 19/09/2015 at 12:35:25
They have blocked us off before up there in Wales. I predict the usual anti-climax, a draw.
69 Posted 19/09/2015 at 12:46:05
And also no more "hangovers" from the Thursday night Europa League games. No more excuses. I love Everton in Europe. But not the Europa League. Sorry.
So let's win today and really push for a top 4 place. Again, why not?
I think that maybe Martinez has learnt from last season.
70 Posted 19/09/2015 at 12:48:38
71 Posted 19/09/2015 at 12:58:33
Just doing some reading and found the following facts courtesy of the Swans website:
Swansea have won just one of their 23 meetings with Everton in all competitions;
The Swans have lost three of their four Premier League meetings with Everton at the Liberty, netting just two goals in the process;
Everton have scored a league-high three goals from outside the box in the 2015-16 Premier League so far;
Ross Barkley has assisted more goals in his last four Premier League games (3) than he had in his previous 77 appearances in the competition (2);
Bafetimbi Gomis has scored nine goals in his last 11 Premier League appearances.
72 Posted 19/09/2015 at 13:32:35
73 Posted 19/09/2015 at 13:38:31
Disgraceful that this referee didn't see what Costa did. Hope the FA act with retrospective action.
74 Posted 19/09/2015 at 13:44:12
Costa is a wind-up merchant, and Gabriel fell into the trap.
Mike Dean should have controlled things better after the yellow cards.
75 Posted 19/09/2015 at 13:45:36
76 Posted 19/09/2015 at 13:50:53
Costa is scum. Retro ban for him.
77 Posted 19/09/2015 at 13:51:57
78 Posted 19/09/2015 at 13:52:33
Watching in laptop at work, I really hope the Gunners nick this one.
79 Posted 19/09/2015 at 13:53:00
80 Posted 19/09/2015 at 13:54:14
81 Posted 19/09/2015 at 13:59:06
82 Posted 19/09/2015 at 13:59:41
83 Posted 19/09/2015 at 14:00:56
Same site every week.
84 Posted 19/09/2015 at 14:02:22
Galloway, Jagielka, Stones, Browning
Barry, McCarthy, Naismith, Barkley
85 Posted 19/09/2015 at 14:03:33
86 Posted 19/09/2015 at 14:03:38
I like Everton, Evertonians and who and what we are.
90 Posted 19/09/2015 at 14:22:10
Also, just as in the Chelsea game, the only defender on the bench is Funes Mori. I hope Browning is up for it and has a good game.
91 Posted 19/09/2015 at 14:26:24
Barkley and Naismith to probe through the middle. Any of our wingers to come on in the second half. Can our wingless wonders do it again? Of course they can!
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