Saturday 11th April 2015, Liberty Stadium. Live on BT Sports 1. Kick-off 12:45pm.
Two of the Premier League’s in-form sides meet in the weekend’s opening fixture when Swansea City entertain Everton in Saturday’s lunchtime kick-off.
Before the season started many expected the Toffees to be competing for a European spot but a disappointment term has seen them flirt with threats of relegation.
Despite an underwhelming campaign, Roberto Martinez’s outfit have won their last three outings to move up to 12th in the table, 11 points clear of the bottom three.
A 3-0 win over Newcastle and a 2-1 success at QPR before the international break was followed by a brilliant result against Southampton. Phil Jagielka close-range finish secured the points last time out and Martinez wants his side to continue their run but knows his former side will prove a tough challenge.
The 41-year-old said, “they’ve been really strong throughout, I don’t think they’ve had a bad spell. They started the season really strongly and they’ve always found a way to cope with injuries, suspensions and players sold in the January window.
“That’s a real sign of a team mentality that they’ve got really good organisation as a side. They’re always competitive and always a difficult team to play against.”
Opposite to Everton, Swansea City have exceeded many’s expectations this season and can surpass their previous best Premier League points tally.
The Welsh side registered 47 points in the 2011/12 season but Monk’s men are just one point short of that tally with seven games left. Swansea beat Hull City 3-1 last time out with a Bafetimbi Gomis brace and Ki Sung-Yong strike to make it four wins from their last six outings.
Overhauling their previous points tally is what is driving Garry Monk’s side and the boss is hoping to do so this weekend.
The former Swansea captain explained, “It’s what we’re fighting for, it’s what our focus is. A lot of people have questioned what we’ve got to fight for in recent weeks.
“We’re not in a relegation battle and we’re not fighting for Europe but that’s what it is. It’s one of the targets that we set at the start of the season and if we could achieve it at some point during the season – we’ve got a great chance now.
“We’re one point behind it with seven games to go and hopefully we can surpass it and really try and push on from there. We have an opportunity to do it on Saturday and there’s no time to waste. Let’s 100 per cent focus.”
Both teams head into Saturday’s game high on confidence with strong form in recent weeks making a draw a likely outcome – SkyBet are offering 23/10 for a draw.
The difference between the sides could a dominant performance from on the strikers on show, whether it is Bafetimbi Gomis for the Swans or, depending on his fitness, Toffee’s frontman Romelu Lukaku.
Swansea v Everton – Draw 23/10 (SkyBet)