Taylor plans early Christmas gift

BY foxsports • December 20, 2011

The Swans currently sit 12th in the table, but victory over Everton at Goodison Park on Wednesday night could move them up to as high as ninth. Claiming the three points on Merseyside would cap an excellent start to the season, given that the Welsh club were tipped by many to make a rapid return to the npower Championship after securing promotion last term. But while 22-year-old Taylor and Swansea are only looking up the table, he also knows that a top-10 slot at Christmas could count for little if they allow standards to slip during the second half of the season. "A win would be a big boost, but every year the sides that are relegated seem to get more points," he said. "Blackpool went down last season despite the good start they had, so no matter how many points you get you can get hauled back into it. "Forty points may be more than enough to stay up, or it may not be, you never know. Teams at the bottom can change managers and get a new lease of life, like Sunderland have. "But we are looking above us in the table, we want to be in that top 10, and we can be in there if we win on Wednesday." If they are to make that leap into the top 10, Brendan Rodgers' side will need to pick up their first away win of the season, and a first-ever success over Everton, at Goodison Park. Swansea have the worst travelling record in the top flight, but head to Liverpool boosted by Saturday's goalless draw at Newcastle, and memories of the point they picked up across the city at Anfield last month. "It was a great result (at Newcastle)," said Taylor. "It was a very tough afternoon. It's a hard place to go to and to get a result like that was a big confidence boost. "We now go to Everton looking for that win. A point is the minimum we want from any game and if we could pick that up at Everton it would be a great result, getting three would be better still, and if we manage it we must build from there. "We haven't performed really badly away from home. We have been very good at home, and in this league a lot of teams thrive off their home form. "If you look at Manchester United, last year they only won five away games but still won the league. It's not the case that everyone's away form is always great. "It's something we want to get out the way, to get that first win, and if we can build on Saturday I am sure we can put that last link in the chain." One of the key factors in Swansea's current solid mid-table slot has been their excellent defensive record. Rodgers' men have eight clean sheets from the first 16 games, a figure only matched by Manchester United. Wales international Taylor, along with the likes of Ashley Williams and injury returnee Angel Rangel, has been an integral part of those shut-outs, and says the preparation work put in by the players and their manager has paid dividends. "We have worked hard on our defending," he said. "It's just been a case of putting the work in during training and doing the preparation and analysis so that we know what we need to do. "We knew what Newcastle would do, that the ball would be thrown forward a lot with the big men up front, and we knew we were going to have to battle and help each other out to clear the box. "In the first half we rode our luck, which you need at the big grounds, but in the second half we settled and we could have nicked a win at the end." Swansea's good defensive record could cause problems for an Everton side short on goals, having, like Swansea, found the net just 16 times so far. The form of midfielder Tim Cahill, for so long a talisman for the Toffees, has summed up their season, with the former Millwall man having gone 24 league games without a goal. That run is the longest goalscoring drought of Cahill's career in English football, but Taylor is wary of the threat posed by the 32-year-old, who found the net for Australia when they beat Wales in August. Taylor said: "He is a big threat. He is very good in the air, deceptively so as he is not that tall. "You have to watch him and (Marouane) Fellaini. They will put crosses in and it's something we will have to defend well."