Swansea vs Everton
Venue: Liberty Stadium
Kick off: 12:45pm
The Premier League weekend kicks off with two of its form sides as Roberto Martinez’s Everton visit his former club Swansea City.
Many would have expected Everton to be the best of the rest this season and Swansea to be somewhere in the bottom half of the table, but it is the other way around heading into this fixture at the Liberty Stadium.
The Welsh club have won their last two games to climb to eighth in the table, with last weekend’s 3-1 victory over Hull City their Premier League best 13th win of the season.
Bafetimbi Gomis’s double did the damage against the Tigers, and the Frenchman, who committed himself to the Swans this week, has three goals in his last two games.
Swansea have not been out of the top half of the table all season, which is made even more remarkable considering that they were tipped to struggle under the guidance of the division’s youngest manager.
However, Garry Monk, 36, has shown wisdom beyond his years to ensure that the Swans were never involved in the relegation battle and instead flirted with the European places prior to Christmas.
Everton themselves registered three successive wins for the first time this season courtesy of their 1-0 victory over Southampton last Saturday.
Phil Jagielka’s early goal was enough for the Toffees to overcome the Champions League hopefuls and climb to 11th in the table, although they have since been usurped by Crystal Palace.
Captain Jagielka has admitted that the momentum that Everton are building is coming too late in a disappointing season which has proven that they do not yet have the resources to balance the Premier League with continental competition.
A top-half finish is still within their grasp as they chase 10th-placed Stoke City, who are currently five points ahead of them. The Merseysiders have not finished outside of the top 10 since 2005-06.
Swansea possible starting lineup:
Fabianski; Rangel, Fernandez, Williams, Taylor; Ki, Cork, Shelvey; Sigurdsson, Routledge, Gomis
Everton possible starting lineup:
Howard; Coleman, Stones, Jagielka, Baines; Barry, McCarthy; Barkley, Naismith, Lennon; Lukaku.