Swansea City-Everton Preview
Swansea City will look to put their League Cup disappointment behind them when they travel to Goodison Park to play Everton on Saturday.
Garry Monk' Swansea (4-2-3) were beaten 2-1 by Liverpool on Tuesday, conceding twice late on after being reduced to ten men.
"When you are 1-0 up and so close to the finishing line but then concede twice and get a red card within ten minutes is very disappointing," German goalkeeper Gerhard Tremmel admitted. "There were some big decisions that went against us and that shifted the momentum. It was what they needed.
"We are disappointed but we can also be proud of our performance. We stood up to them and gave everything we had. Unfortunately it wasn't enough tonight."
The crucial red card decision has been subsequently rescinded by the Football Association, while Monk has also escaped punishment for his criticism of the officials after a defeat to Stoke City earlier in October. However, Everton manager Roberto Martinez believes that Monk is not going to see any benefits from his venting at referees.
"I think it makes you feel better, but I don't think it gets you anything at all," Martinez said. "Football is a game of errors, and sometimes you get those errors in your favour or against you, and that is part of the game. In general, everything levels up over the course of a season, and we are quite fortunate with our refereeing standards in our leagues - we shouldn't lose sight of that."
Martinez's Everton (3-3-3) have recovered after a disappointing start to the season, winning their last two games by an aggregate score line of 6-1. Tightening up at the back has been the key to Everton's revival. They conceded a league high 16 goals from the opening seven matches of the season, and Martinez is pleased to see that his defenders have rediscovered the impressive form that they showed in the last campaign.
"The reason we haven't got more points in the table is because defensively we were not at our best early on in the season," Martinez said. "That's something rare because it's in our DNA to be very good defensively. Sometimes there is nothing you can do because you need a bit of luck - you can have a deflected shot that can either go into the top of the stand or the top corner. "We are through that period. The players accepted it and wanted to work hard, and the result is two performances that were solid."
John Stones (ankle) and Bryan Oviedo (leg) are expected to be missing from the Everton back-line for the Swansea game, while striker Romelu Lukaku is a concern having picked up a knock in the 3-1 win over Burnley last time out.
Swansea have injury concerns over key midfielders Ki Sung-Yeung and Gylfi Sigurdsson, while fellow midfielder Leon Britton remains out with a knee injury.
The Toffees did the league double over Swansea last season, winning 2-1 at the Liberty Stadium and 3-2 at Goodison. Ross Barkley scored what turned out to be the winner in a game where Swansea outshot Everton 21-9 and dominated the possession stats.