Everton travel to face Swansea City in the late kick-off on Saturday and it is a match that will have major ramifications for the relegation battle. In the earlier meeting between the two clubs this season, the match ended level at Goodison Park.
The Swans have a good record against the Toffees in recent seasons and are unbeaten in the last six meetings. This should give them great confidence heading into the weekend, as there is no margin for error as they attempt to climb above Hull City.
It has been a disappointing season for Swansea as they have been in the relegation zone for most of the campaign. The decision to appoint Bob Bradley could have cost them their Premier League status, as they remain in the bottom three.
Paul Clement has done a good job since his arrival, but a run of six matches without a win allowed Hull City to climb above them. With only three matches to go, the Welsh club’s fate is no longer in their own hands, which makes this fixture a must win for them.
Gylfi Sigurdsson proved at Old Trafford that he is one of the best midfielders in the league and it is imperative that he delivers another great performance on Saturday.
At Everton, Ronald Koeman will still have faith that his team can finish in the top six, but it won’t be a disappointment if they don’t manage it. Arsenal have two matches in hand over the Toffees and it is looking increasingly likely that they will finish in 7th.
They have once again established themselves as the best of the rest and a Europa League place will be theirs.
It will be interesting to see their summer plans as they have a great opportunity to push on and challenge the top six, unlike seasons past when they didn’t have the finances required.
Romelu Lukaku looks set to leave, but no player is bigger than the club and there is a reason for optimism at Goodison Park.
After a run of six matches without a victory, Swansea have managed to take four points from their last two matches and there is renewed confidence that they can avoid the drop.
Last weekend, they were the better team against Manchester United and arguably deserved more than a point. Although they didn’t take the three points, the performance has given the team momentum and they must deliver a similar performance this weekend.
Everton have won only two of their last six matches and they are beginning to trail off as the season ends. They have one of the best attacks in the league, but they haven’t scored in their last two matches and that should boost Swansea. Ronald Koeman’s men haven’t won any of their last five away fixtures.
Swansea won’t be planning many changes from the team that secured a draw against Manchester United. Martin Olsson could be recalled to provide some experience in the left back position. He also offers more going forwards than Stephen Kingsley.
Koeman could choose to go back to the 4-3-3 formation and recall Gareth Barry to play alongside Idrissa Gueye and Tom Davies. The player most likely to drop out is Enner Valencia after a poor showing against Chelsea.
Jefferson Montero will be unavailable after suffering a hamstring injury last weekend. Wayne Routledge, Nathan Dyer and Angel Rangel all remain on the treatment table.
Morgan Schneiderlin remains a week away from a return. Ramiro Funes Mori, Seamus Coleman, Yannick Bolasie and James McCarthy will also be missing.
Match Prediction: Swansea City 2-1 Everton
The end of the season matches are unpredictable as there are only a portion of teams that are playing for something substantial.
In this match, Swansea need a result a lot more than Everton and for that reason, they should be able to take at least a point.
They have a good record against the Toffees and can take a lot of confidence into the game after their excellent performance last weekend. Furthermore, Everton haven’t been great in their last few matches and are beatable.
In Sigurdsson and Llorente, the home side have two quality attackers. If they both fire, Swansea should have enough to take the three points.