As it turns out, a win versus Everton would have put the Swans level on points with Liverpool following Wigan's shock victory at Anfield, and would have seen the Swans retain eight place. As it is, Brendan's boys have dropped all of two places to tenth; still an excellent position, Premier League safety practically assured.
So what did Moyes do altogether? He spoke before the match about 'pressing' the Swans, and press his players certainly did. More importantly, he man-marked Leon Britton. If man-marking a holding midfielder seems unusual, it was effective. At the same time, Moyes had other Everton forwards close the Swans centre-backs constantly, with the net result that Michel Vorm was unable to distribute the ball along the ground to start the Swans typical passing and possession game.
Forced to opt for long kicks instead, Everton were always going to win the aerial battle given the Swans general lack of height. Most importantly, Everton used their possession well. Everton's own passing was, at least in the second half, consistently top-drawer, their movement and incision deserving of their two goal return, if not arguably more. Stephan Pienaar had an excellent game and represented another example of Moyes tactical savvy; realising that Pienaar would have ample room to exploit behind the attack-minded Rangel.
At the other end, Phil Jagielka put in a performance worthy of more National team recognition, just edging the one-on-one battle with Danny Graham, who himself did very well against the centre back. The duo's match-up was among the more interesting facets of the game, especially in the Swans-dominated first half, and although Graham failed to find the net, on another day with a slightly better bounce here or a split-second hesitation from Jagielka there, it would have been an entirely different story.
The second half belonged to Everton, the Swans coming out shaky and never getting into much of a rhythm. Rodgers can't have been happy with what he saw, electing to go for broke with a triple substitution which sadly made little difference, replacing all three front men (Graham up front and wingers Sinclair and Routledge). The substitution of Routledge was somewhat baffling, as I felt he had been Swansea's best player; admittedly, not many of his clever passes were finding their target, but that seemed symptomatic of the kind of day the Swans were having. Routledge always looked the most likely to make something happen, and in a game where nothing else was working, it seemed to make more sense to leave him on.
In defence, Ash Williams, returning from illness, had a day to forget, culpable on both of Everton's goals. It was Williams clumsy challenge which upended Leighton Baines, the left back scoring from the ensuing free kick, and although Baines went down easy, Williams didn't make any contact with the ball, only with the man, leaving the ref with no choice.
On Everton's second, Williams failed twice in succession to beat Marouane 'human microphone' Fellaini off the ball, eventually allowing the Belgian to centre for a Jelavic tap-in. Watching Williams tussle with Fellaini, I couldn't help but wonder if he sometimes allows himself to get caught up in the physical battle and forgets about the ball. After all, tackling is really a technique-based skill, not a physical one (at least not since the mid-90's). You don't need to make any contact with an opposing player to take the ball off them; Leon Britton perhaps the defining example. Williams didn't need to wrestle with Fellaini, he just needed to poke the ball away. The same can be said for his challenge on Baines; where was the attention to the ball?
Of course, it's easy for me to say. Williams is usually the rock in the Swans defence, which makes it all the more damaging when he has a bad game, and he certainly wasn't alone in having on off-day on Saturday.
There is, of course, a silver lining; the Swans safety is more or less assured, which means rather than being caught up in a relegation dogfight as many predicted, Rodgers can now afford the luxury of figuring out a plan-B ready for next season; what to do when an opposing team so effectively negates the Swans natural game. After all, it is a disconcerting thought that all a team has to do to beat the Swans is man-mark Leon Britton, press the centre backs and have a decent left winger. Perhaps if the full backs dropped back to receive the ball from Vorm, that would give Vorm five outlets (the defensive four plus Britton) and be all but impossible for the opponent to press or man-mark without leaving themselves very thin further down field.
Regardless, after winning three straight without conceding a goal along the way, it's hard to be too disappointed the Swans weren't able to make it four. The Swans have already achieved so much this year they have earned an off-day (so long as it remains an exception), and a reality check to chase any complacency out the door will be of benefit before a difficult April Fool's trip to Spurs.
Positives : Michel Vorm. Tenth in the table. Decent first half.
Negatives : Beaten at home. Williams' wrestlemania. Poor second half.