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Sunday, 16 December, 2018

Cautious teams are likely to produce few chances

Sam Allardyce has tightened up Everton's defence
1 of 1

Premier League
Sky Sports Premier League, 8pm Monday

Everton have gone back to basics under Sam Allardyce and their low-risk approach is likely to generate a low-scoring outcome to their match with Swansea at Goodison.

Allardyce has always believed in building from the back but has been surprised by how quickly the Everton players have responded to his methods.

After steering the Toffees to a 1-0 success at Newcastle on Wednesday Allardyce gave himself a large pat on the back by saying how baffled he was that the same players had defended so poorly before he arrived.

After taking seven points from nine under the new regime, Everton are in the top half and eyeing a push towards the top seven.

Wayne Rooney is having his best spell since returning to his boyhood club - scoring five goals in his last four games - and there is plenty of market confidence behind Everton, who are odds-on to slay a Swansea side who have been stuck in the bottom three for the last six weeks.

There will be no shortage of punters thinking of getting stuck into the Toffees but it is still early days for Everton under Allardyce and it may be wise not to get too carried away by recent events.

Performances haven't been entirely convincing.

In the three games under Allardyce they have registered just 16 shots - six in the 2-0 win at home to Huddersfield, three in the 1-1 draw at Liverpool and seven in the triumph on Tyneside.

They have had to do a lot of good defending but were hugely fortunate to take a point at Anfield and their woodwork was struck twice by Newcastle, who had twice as many shots (14).

Clearly Everton are doing better in both boxes but they have also had some good fortune and that will not go on forever.

Swansea would rather have played Everton a few weeks ago but their goal is unlikely to be peppered with shots and the outcome will boil down to which team defends better.

The Welsh side will have to play with more energy and application than they showed in a 4-0 loss at home to Manchester City last Wednesday but, just four days earlier, they put in a solid performance to claim a deserved 1-0 win at home to West Brom.

Over the course of the season the Swans have conceded 22 goals - the joint-lowest among the bottom six and seven less than Everton.

When fully focused Paul Clement's side can be tough to break down and they can turn the Everton match into a tight, tense affair.

Despite their troubles Swansea have kept six clean sheets this season. However, they have been dismal at the other end and their nine-goal league tally is the lowest in the top four divisions.

Both teams have scored in just four of Swansea's 17 league games and that statistic is unlikely to increase to five on Merseyside.

One or both teams not to score 
1pt 3-4 Betfair

Team news
Yannick Bolasie is available for the first time this season but James McCarthy (hamstring) is a doubt and Ross Barkley (hamstring), Seamus Coleman (leg), Ramiro Funes Mori (knee) and Leighton Baines (hamstring) are out.

Kyle Bartley (knee) is the only reported absentee for the away side.

Key stat
Both teams have scored in just four of Swansea's 17 league matches this season.

Premier League standings

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After taking seven points from nine under the new regime, Everton are in the top half and eyeing a push towards the top seven
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