How Swansea City can halt their Everton hex
SWANSEA City will be looking to alter one of the most remarkable records in the Premier League when they visit Everton tomorrow.
The Swans have never won against the Merseyside club in their 12 meetings spanning more than 82 years.
Of all the sides Swansea have faced in their century of existence, Everton are the only one they have failed to beat.
There are Football League teams such as Fleetwood, AFC Wimbledon, Morecambe, Burton and Dagenham & Redbridge who Swansea have never played but, of all the teams they have encountered, the Toffees have been uniquely indestructible.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
David Moyes's side have had a particularly suffocating stranglehold on the Swans in the Premier League era, winning all three of their encounters in convincing style.
Swansea have not even scored against the Blue half of Merseyside since returning to the top flight in 2011, so here are the five steps Michael Laudrup's men will have to take to win at Goodison Park.
This is the most important task of all because, in three Premier League matches against Everton, Swansea have yet to register a single goal.
Their usually fluent passing game has been stifled in all three of their meetings, with Moyes implementing a highly effective pressing game to deny the Swans' playmakers time and space.
Laudrup's men will be braced for a high-octane defensive effort from Everton, but they will need to outmanoeuvre the hosts and bring their attacking players into play.
If the likes of Pablo Hernandez and Wayne Routledge can combine to free Michu in dangerous areas, Swansea might be able to break their duck at Goodison Park.
Marouane Fellaini has proven to be a handful for many Premier League sides, though few have felt the force of the pugnacious Belgian midfielder quite like the Swans.
When they last visited Goodison Park, Swansea were met with a tirade of long balls which were invariably met by the volumously-coiffeured head of Fellaini.
Whether he is used as an orthodox central midfielder or in an advanced position behind the striker, the 25-year-old is a menace.
Fellaini ran amok at the Liberty earlier this season, scoring one goal, creating another and tearing Swansea to shreds with a rumbustious man-of-the-match display. The Swans must end his reign of terror if they are to triumph tomorrow.
Laudrup has admitted Swansea's fallibility from set-pieces is an inevitable side-effect of selecting small and supple players in order to execute their aesthetic brand of football.
Leon Osman's winner at Goodison Park last season and Fellaini's goal at the Liberty earlier this term were both headers from set-pieces, and the Swans have been exposed in this facet of the game on numerous other occasions.
Everton are a physically imposing side who will tower over Laudrup's playmaking imps, so it is imperative Swansea's marking from corners and free-kicks is watertight.
Manchester United are among those to have been conquered at Goodison Park this season, and the Toffees' fans will be expecting to claim another scalp when Swansea visit.
Everton have a formidable home record — last month's 2-1 defeat to Chelsea is the only match they have lost on their own patch so far this season.
While the Swans might have been intimidated by such a fact last term, their away form in this campaign offers cause for optimism.
The four wins on the road Swansea have collected this season has already matched the tally they managed in their debut Premier League term and, if Laudrup's men can keep Everton's fans quiet with a strong display, they could add a fifth tomorrow.
Midfield is the area where Swansea boast the most quality and greatest strength in depth in their squad, though it is also a rich resource for Everton.
In past meetings, the likes of Steven Pienaar, Fellaini and Osman have pressed the Swans' midfielders high up the pitch, while the deeper lying Phil Neville has nullified the threat of Michu or Gylfi Sigurdsson, when the Icelander was on loan at Swansea last term.
Leon Britton and his colleagues will need to keep possession as neatly and consistently as usual, while Michu will need to exploit the space between Everton's midfield and defence.
If Swansea can wrestle control of this key middle ground, they will have taken a significant stride towards victory.