Swansea City v Everton
Ronald Koeman says Morgan Schneiderlin is close to full fitness but will miss Everton’s trip to Swansea City on Saturday.
The France international sustained a thigh injury in training last week and missed the 3-0 defeat to Chelsea last time out.
Koeman has confirmed Schneiderlin will again be unavailable when the Blues travel to south Wales, but also revealed he could return when Everton take on Watford at Goodison Park next Friday.
“Morgan is improving,” he said in his pre-match press conference. “But he will not be fit for the weekend.
“But I believe he can be fit for next Friday [against Watford].”
Yannick Bolasie, Muhamed Besic, Ramiro Funes Mori [all knee], Seamus Coleman [broken leg] and James McCarthy [hamstring] remain absent.
Everton enter Saturday’s tea-time clash looking to bounce back from last weekend’s 3-0 defeat to league leaders Chelsea, but it has been a productive 2017 so far for Ronald Koeman’s side.
In their 16 Premier League outings since the turn of the year, the Blues have registered nine wins and suffered just three defeats.
With West Bromwich Albion and Southampton failing to win last weekend, Everton are now guaranteed at least a seventh-place finish in the table - and a spot in European competition next season.
The Swans, meanwhile, currently sit 18th in the Premier League table and two points adrift of safety with three games remaining.
Since taking over in south Wales, Paul Clement has masterminded important wins over Crystal Palace, Liverpool, Southampton, Burnley and Stoke City.
And while April rendered just one win from six league outings, Gylfi Sigurdsson’s stunning free-kick earned the Swans an impressive point at Old Trafford last time out.
CLASSIC MEETING: Swansea 2-5 Everton, Friday 3 April 1931
Everton’s forwards ran riot on an exquisite surface in south Wales, with Dixie Dean helping himself to a brace, while Edward Critchley, Tommy Johnson and Jimmy Stein completed the scoring to ensure a comfortable victory.
“The final score of 5-2 was no exaggeration of Everton's superiority, but it does not tell the public how manfully Swansea battled in the second half,” wrote a local reporter. “Swansea’s football may have been crude in front of goal, yet their persistency and pluck to the finish was praiseworthy. In fact, they made a deep impression in the second half, and it needed Everton's best defensive lung to starve of further goals.”
Indeed, Stein opened the scoring in the opening minute of the contest before Dean added another five minutes later and Critchley made it three inside the half hour mark, but the hosts hit back before the Toffees asserted their dominance again with their free-flowing team moves.
“It was a triumph of the arts of the game over the artisan of the game,” summarised the reporter.
Thomas McIntosh’s side had suffered relegation the previous season but bounced back to the top-flight at the first time of asking, returning to the top-flight as Second Division champions.
Incredibly, the Blues followed up that success by winning the First Division crown the very next year.
ONE TO WATCH: GYLFI SIGURDSSON
After an outstanding Euro 2016 campaign with Iceland that saw the minnows reach the quarter-final stages, Gylfi Sigurdsson has continued his form throughout the 2016/17 domestic season.
The attacking midfielder has again been the Swans’ key man, providing 12 assists and scoring nine goals in the league alone.
Sigurdsson netted a penalty in the 1-1 draw between the two sides at Goodison Park back in November.
MAN IN THE MIDDLE: MARTIN ATKINSON
The Yorkshire-based official will be taking charge of his third Everton match of the season, having overseen home draws against Tottenham Hotspur and Swansea City, as well as the Toffees’ FA Cup defeat to Leicester City.
In all competitions, Atkinson has officiated 38 games so far in 2016/17, with his most recent outing being Real Madrid’s 3-0 win over Atletico Madrid in the Champions League semi-finals.
In total, has shown 131 yellow cards and three red cards in 38 matches this term.
As always, there will be free live audio commentary of Saturday’s contest here on evertonfc.com
to listen to evertontv presenter Darren Griffiths and special guest Lee Trundle - a boyhood Evertonian and Swansea Ambassador - for coverage of the action on matchday.
Get involved in the broadcast on Saturday by tweeting in your shout-out requests using #EFCLive
In addition to our live commentary, look out for our live blog which will bring you updates, imagery, video and team news from South Wales. Head to the match centre, the official App or the evertonfc.com
homepage on matchday to find it.