Everton vs Stoke City
Date: Saturday 27th August 2016
Venue: Goodison Park, Liverpool
Competition: Premier League
Last time they met: Stoke City 0-3 Everton
Latest betting odds (bet365):
Everton [8/11] Draw [11/4] Stoke [9/2]
Our tip: Stoke to win, and BTTS (Both Teams To Score) – [9/1]
Longshot: A repeat of last years tie, 3-4 to Stoke – [250/1]
It’s been a decent start to life at Everton for new boss, Ronald Koeman. Having drew with Spurs on the opening day, the Dutchman would have been delighted with last Saturday’s hard earned victory at West Bromich Albion.
It has also been a decent window for Everton. Despite the notable departure of defender, John Stones, Everton have splashed out on Yannick Bolasie, Ashley Williams, Idrissa Gueye whilst also keeping hold of Romelu Lukaku.
Everton will see tomorrow’s game as a must win opportunity, as Stoke were one of the many sides to walk away with all three points from Goodison Park last season, so Koeman will be looking to rectify that.
It promises to be a tough afternoon for the much questioned Stoke defence who conceded four goals last week against Manchester City, and Everton will be further boosted by the news that Jack Butland is still out for Stoke.
Yannick Bolasie and Ashley Williams will be looking to make their Goodison Park debuts from the offset tomorrow, and both will be eager to impress, should they be picked.
Tom Cleverley, Darron Gibson and James McCarthy all picked up knocks in Everton’s victory midweek against Yeovil, but Koeman is expecting a fully fit team to be available tomorrow.
Sheamus Coleman is the only absentee for The Toffees as the game will come too soon for him to shake off an ankle problem.
Everton Predicted XI:
Stekelenburg; Holgate, Williams, Jagielka, Baines; Barry, Gueye; Bolasie, Barkley, Deulofeu; Lukaku.
WHO DOES MARK HUGHES PICK UP FRONT?
A question that I, like thousands of other Stoke fans are sick to death with asking week in week out.
Since the day Mark Hughes walked through the door at Stoke, we have never had an established forward who Hughes plays week in week out. We have seen Peter Crouch, Kenwyne Jones, Jon Walters, John Gudetti, Joselu Mato, Mame Biram Diouf all get the nod from Hughes in the past, but for over 3 years now, we still couldn’t tell you who’s playing up front most weeks.
Having started his first game of the season on Tuesday, Peter Crouch put his name in the hat for tomorrow’s game by notching a very impressive hat-trick, albeit against very intermediate opposition.
It was reported in The Sentinel last night, that could even ‘spark’ Hughes to offer Crouch a new deal at the club.
However, Hughes is likely to persevere with Mame Diouf for the time being at least, as Joselu looks completely cast out at the moment. http://wellbewithyou.co.uk/transfer-talk-joselu-set-move-away-potteries/
Does Ramadan Sobhi deserve to start?
The star of this fixture last year, Xherdan Shaqiri is once again set to miss out for Stoke with a calf strain, so tomorrow could be a chance for Hughes to gamble and start Sobhi from the offset.
From what I’ve seen so far, I’m impressed with Ramadan. His willingness on the ball is very refreshing, and up against an ageing Leighton Baines tomorrow, it could be a risk that could very well pay off for Mark Hughes.
Again, much like the forward situation, Hughes will have a tough time deciding what defence to play once again tomorrow.
Having shipped four goals at home last week, Stoke fans were left furious with the defence, and most notably, the performances of Erik Pieters and Ryan Shawcross.
I think Shawcross would be too important to drop tomorrow, but I think that having impressed at left back, Hughes may opt for Muniesa to start over Pieters.
Geoff Cameron was also excellent at the heart of the defence on Tuesday, however, Philipp Wollscheid is expected to retain his place.
Stoke are still without Glen Johnson and Jack Butland for tomorrow’s game, whilst Xherdan Shaqiri is highly unlikely to feature.
How the game can be won?
In my opinion, the game tomorrow will be decided mostly by the performances of both midfield’s.
The performances of Joe Allen in the middle have been nothing short of exceptional.
He has covered every inch of grass in both games he’s played so far, and in my opinion, although Crouch notched three against Stevenage, Allen was by far MOTM. Hughes will need another huge performance from him should Stoke get anything tomorrow.
I also think tomorrow is a huge game for Giannelli Imbula to shine, against Middlesbrough, I was left mesmerised by Imbula’s performance.
He looked strong, quick, powerful, basically very Yaya Toure-esque, and against an ageing Gareth Barry, and Idrissa Gueye, you’d expect that Allen and Imbula will dominate the midfield, therefore, allowing Arnautovic and Bojan plenty of space in-between Everton’s midfield and defence.
Stoke City Predicted XI:
Given, Bardsley, Shawcross, Wollscheid, Muniesa; Allen, Imbula; Arnautovic, Bojan, Ramadan; Diouf.