David John says Everton can carve out a narrow victory over bottom club Swansea in the Premier League on Monday night.
Everton v Swansea (2000 GMT, Sky Sports Main Event and Premier League)
Following last weekend’s desperately-needed victory over West Brom, Swansea crept back into their shell in midweek with a timid performance against Manchester City.
Paul Clement’s side are not exactly an isolated case when it comes to getting tonked by Pep Guardiola’s superstars but their effort reflected little the dire straits they currently find themselves in amidst their fight for survival.
The old cliché about the City defeat not defining their season resonates sufficiently true but it will have eroded that little bit more confidence from a struggling squad and embattled head coach ahead of a run that sees them play three of their four games before the end of 2017 on the road.
Clement – if he lasts that long in the job – has pleaded for immediate impact players to be added next month in the transfer window but needs some serious action from his current staff between now and then if they are not to find themselves adrift come FA Cup third-round weekend.
The quest starts as general 4/1 chances on Merseyside with Swansea’s owners glancing covetously at Monday’s rivals following their recent revival that has seen them climb to the relative safety of halfway in the table.
Evidence of the Sam Allardyce factor is clear to see, geeing up what is a decent-quality squad anyway with his presence while those stats gurus behind the scenes have worked on application and efficiency.
The early results have been excellent with four victories from five in all competitions and just one goal conceded so there will undoubtedly be a few glum faces around Goodison Park if they are unable to snaffle another three points against the section’s bottom outfit.
The very early wave of euphoria after Allardyce’s arrival with handy victories over West Ham, Huddersfield and even Limassol might have passed and Everton’s last two outings are much more in the new manager’s mould with an excellent tactical effort in the derby before nicking victory up at Newcastle.
Substance over style remains very much at the top of the agenda though until the Toffees can ensure a position of relative safety heading into the second half of the campaign and we know that the manager will happily take success however it arrives and deal with any questions about aesthetics later.
This has very much the look of a potential trap game and though Swansea’s recent record away from the Liberty Stadium falls into the woeful category, they have managed to remain in games despite the final outcome since the end of September yielding precisely no points.
Perhaps having something to prove against former midfield maestro Gylfi Sigurdsson could help raise their intensity level but I still envisage the hosts having enough in the locker to come out on top – back them to prevail by exactly a goal in classic, satisfactory Big Sam fashion.
Prediction: Everton 2-1 Swansea
- More free football betting tips
- Sky Bet's football odds
- Latest football fixtures
- Live scores and in-play odds
- Football results
- Updated football tables
- Latest Paper Talk
Posted at 1510 GMT on 17/12/17.