Everton beat Swansea 1-0 at Goodison Park thanks to Leon Osman’s second consecutive goal in as many games that put the Toffees into 11th position in the Premier League table for Christmas.
Osman’s second half goal was the only difference between the two sides, who are amongst the lowest scoring teams in the league; a problem they will arguably both be looking to solve when the January transfer window comes around.
Swansea started the game well and had decent possession deep in front of their back four but it was Everton, and Royston Drenthe in particular, who started causing the problems in the first half.
The first real clear cut chance came in the 34th minute when Drenthe’s cross to Saha was put just wide of the post.
Leighton Baines’ low cross found Magaye Gueye, who replaced the injured Seamus Coleman a few minutes earlier, and the substitute’s low shot was brilliantly saved by Swansea ‘keeper Michel Vorm.
Everton really started pushing for the opening goal towards the end of the first half and it was no surprise that Drenthe was at the centre of most of the home side’s attacking play.
The on-loan Real Madrid player put a free kick just wide of the post in the 43rd minute and Vorm came to the rescue for Swansea again just before half time when Osman played in Gueye, whose low shot was blocked by the Dutch ‘keeper.
Swansea had kept eight clean sheets in the league going into this game and with Vorm in goal it was easy to see why, but Everton’s lack of a cutting edge up front was also clearly on display for everyone to see.
Everton flattered to deceive early in the second half and the only chance of note was a low cross sent into the box by Baines, but no one could get on the end of it.
The deadlock was finally broken in the 60th minute from a set piece when Drenthe’s curling corner met the head of Leon Osman and the midfielder finally had the honour of beating Vorm as his glancing header found the corner of the net.
Swansea had their first chance to equalise, as well as their first real chance of the game, less than 10 minutes after the goal when Wayne Routledge’s corner was met by Danny Graham, but the striker couldn’t direct his header either side of Tim Howard and the American easily caught the ball.
The visitors failed to create any real chances to equalise, and another teasing cross by Routledge that nearly found Graham was headed clear by Phil Jagielka was the Swans only real chance of note.
The game ended with Everton claiming the three points and their first win in four games, but the Toffees will need to add more firepower in January if they hope to climb the table in the New Year, while Swansea will need to do something similar.
Despite having a decent defence and being well organised, Brendan Rodgers’ side need more up front; the Welsh side are still relegation candidates at Betfair.com but still ahead of the likes of Bolton, Blackburn and Wigan; check out more of the relegation market here.