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v Wolfsburg

Thursday 18 September K.O. 20:05



Goodison Park | 21st December 2011 20:00

Everton v Swansea City

The last league meeting between these sides fell on the same day Michael Jackson's Thriller climbed to the top of the Billboard Album chart.

And Royston Drenthe was a studded white glove short of being equally entertaining as Swansea were disposed of at Goodison Park.

As if the fans weren't desperate enough to embrace a new cult hero before this electrifying display.

And the crackle in the Gwladys was fuelled by the sparks flying from the feet of the pocket dynamo Dutchman.

It wasn't that the Swans were bad.

Osman gets the shot inOsman was a constant worry to the Swans defence

But the Blues produced a performance doused with more attacking potency than they have done for some time.

The enlivening presence of the returning Drenthe was the catalyst and when he delivered a perfect corner on the hour - leaving the Swansea defenders as dead on their feet as the zombies in Jackon's iconic video - the dangerous Leon Osman rose to head home the decisive goal.

If Drenthe was the leading man, then Osman was the visionary director and Marouane Fellaini the utterly crucial supporting cast.

The Belgian imposed himself physically, winning countless second balls and providing the platform for Osman prompt play with a stylish verve.

The Swans started true to their reputation, passing the ball out from the back, while the Blues pushed high up the pitch and began with a good tempo about them.

Fellaini wins a headerFellaini dominated the midfield

The early exchanges were easy on the eye and Drenthe immediately added a touch of devilment going forward.

His cute interplay with Louis Saha so nearly produced the first chance of the game but an instinctive toe poke from Steven Caulker removed the venom from the Frenchman's pass, and the through-ball limped into the grateful grasp of glovesman Michel Vorm.

Not much in the way of clear-cut chances arrived as the game reached the half-hour mark - but that wasn't to say it was dull.

It couldn't be dull with Drenthe on the pitch.

After several mercurial bursts down the left an injury to Seamus Coleman saw him switched to the right - instantly he created the best chance of the match thus far.

After beating thin air six or seven times he finally decided to dismiss Neil Taylor and crossed for Saha to flash a header narrowly wide.

Drenthe takes on a couple of defendersDrenthe takes on a couple of defenders

The Blues were getting on top and another razor-sharp exchange soon sliced the visitors open.

Osman's clever ball released Baines and his pull-back reached the punctual Magaye Gueye.

The substitute did everything right as he tried to pass the ball into the corner, but the flailing sprawl of Vorm thwarted him and only a combination of Taylor's thigh and arm blocked Gueye's follow up.

It was all so much better from the Blues and the confidence was visibly flooding back.

Some of Osman's passing from in the hole was nothing short of brilliant as he punctured hole after hole in the Swans' beleaguered defence.

Drenthe won and took a free-kick, but again the visitors' goal led a charmed life as the ball crashed the wrong side of the post.

The 15-minute spell before the break was as good going forward as Everton have been this season, but still they failed to crack the code.

The pattern changed little after the interval, however, and on the hour they got the breakthrough their superiority merited.

Drenthe left to rapturous acclaim as Tim Cahill and Denis Stracqualursi arrived in a bid to kill off the Swans.

The Argentine raced through only to squander a glorious chance to do so, but it mattered little as the Blues secured a vital win to send their supporters into Christmas with smiles on their faces.



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