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Football News: Premier League Match Preview Monday 18th December 2017

Premier League Match Preview Monday 18th December 2017
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Monday 18th December 2017


Everton v Swansea City 8pm kick off


Bolasie (fitness) major doubt
Baines (calf strain) out
McCarthy (hamstring injury expected return 26th December) out
Stekelenburg (groin strain expected return 26th December) out
Barkley (hamstring injury expected return 26th December) out
Funes Mori (ACL injury expected return 1st April 2018) out
Coleman (broken leg expected return 13th January 2018) out

The arrival of Sam Allardyce has revitalised the Toffees just when they needed it and they have now gone 4 matches in a row without defeat, winning 3 of the four. They are now sat relatively safely in the top half of the Premier League, after a start to the season that made it look like they were in for a hard battle against relegation. There is a big gap between the top 7 teams and them, but they now have the opportunity to once again aim at being the 'best of the rest' and hope Burnley drop off as the season goes on. At home they are a much stronger team than they are on the road, with 5 wins out of 8, but they have yet to draw at Goodison Park, oddly. If they want to continue their upward curve, this is the kind of match they really must win.
Most important player: Ashley Williams. His form has picked up slightly of late, due to developing a partnership with a youngster, in Mason Holgate, who can do the running for him and the improved organisation of the team in front of him that Allardyce has brought to the club. Now it is up to him to address his play and to improve his concentration levels and to use his experience to make up for his legs going. There have been far too many times he has thrown himself into needless tackles, when there is no chance, with his lack of pace, that he can ever get caught up with the play again. Playing against his former club is going to make it difficult for him to keep the cool head he needs and to stop relying on physicality which he no longer possesses.


Routledge (muscle fatigue) slight doubt
Bartley (MCL injury expected return 26th December) out

The season is going from bad to worse, as the Swans now sit on the bottom of the table looking up at the rest, with little sign, yet, of any kind of revival. Defensively they are fairly solid but they offer almost nothing in attack. After 17 games of the season they have lost 11 and scored just 9 goals in total. To put that goal scoring into context, there are 5 players in the league that have outscored Swansea on their own. With the board publicly assuring Paul Clement that he will be backed in the January window, can they find the creativity they need, now that it is clear Renato Sanches is not the man to create the chances. Even if they can find the players, will Clement give them the freedom to attack to make the most of it? That has been the big problem at the club so far, the system is tactically stifling the players and is the issue that needs to be addressed.
Most important player: Kyle Naughton. The Swans are very lacking in fullback areas, they are struggling to get forward enough to provide width in the final third of the pitch.


Defining Battle: this is a chance for Allardyce to really take the game to the opposition and dominate a match. Swansea are very beatable, they defend too deep and do not attack with numbers or pass the ball in the right areas of the pitch. They can be stifled and smothered just by pushing up onto them and getting in their face. There is little need to press them, you can allow them the ball as they are so lacking in confidence and movement that they will turn the ball over so long as you allow them no space to just throw it forward. This is the perfect games for an Alardyce-managed team, as it just requires the team to stay compact and organised, as Swansea lack the quality to break a team down.


Editors' Predictions:
Ed002 - 2-1
Ed003 - 4-0
Ed004 - 2-0
Ed007 - 2-0
Ed018 - 1-0
Ed025 - 1-1
Ed033 - 1-2


Editor's Predictions Table
1. Ed033 - 110 points
2= Ed018 - 102 points
2= Ed025 - 102 points
4= Ed002 - 98 points
4= Ed003 - 98 points
6= Ed004 - 97 points
6= Ed007 - 97 points


*1 point is awarded for the correct result, 3 points for the correct score.
**updated 15th December 2017

Written by Tris Burke December 18 2017 05:12:36