Last time we Met; Stoke City; (A)

February 1, 2017

Stoke: Grant, Bardsley, Shawcross, Martins-Indi, Pieters, Whelan, Adam, Afellay, Allen (Berhahino 67′), Arnautovic (Ngoy 89′), Crouch

Subs not Used: Muniesa, Bony, Imbula, Given, Tom Edwards, Thomas Edwards.

Everton: Joel, Holgate (McCarthy 45′), Williams, Funes-Mori, Coleman, Davies, Schneiderlein, Barkley, Baines, Lukaku, Mirallas (Lookman 69′).

Subs not Used: Jagielka, Lennon, Barry, Valencia, Steklenburg.

The last time we met Stoke City at the Bet 365, Koeman’s Everton met the Potters led by Mark Hughes, in a bitterly cold midweek matchup. Stoke’s new, (expensive,) signing Berahino was ready to set the world on fire, until he was put on the bench. Peter Crouch, the oldest striker in the history of everything, was looking for his 100th goal, and he would be the oldest player in the history of the Premier League at 36 to do so. And in typical Everton fashion, the story was pre-written, as Crouch tapped home an Arnautovic cross in the seventh minute to put Stoke up. Everton seems to be quite lucky that Arnautovic wont be on the flanks, as he has been quite good this season, and the Toffees’ defense has been quite bad. A dull first half saw Everton lull Stoke to sleep, and the man himself Seamus Coleman sent a shot into the net off of Shawcross, initially ruled offside and then given, 1-1 tie. And that was all she wrote for the first half, Peter Crouch was the liveliest on the pitch, and that should tell you all you need to know.

Everton looked to add more to the midfield in the second half, bringing on Irish international James Mccarthy for Mason Holgate, and the change of tactics seemed to trouble Stoke. Grant was fantastic in goal for Stoke, and denied several spectacular efforts from the likes of Ross Barkley and Morgan Schneiderlein. Everton almost found a late winner as a superb header from Tom Davies off of a Coleman cross was kept out with a beautiful one handed save from he Stoke keeper. However, the rebound fell to Lukaku, and just as it looked like the blues would finally catch a break, Romeu pushed the game-winner wide, and the game at the BET365 ended in an anti-climatic 1-1 draw.

Saturday’s fixture will be an interesting one, as relegation threatened Stoke, face an Everton team fresh off a 2-0 win against Brighton, and the loss of one of the squad’s best players. Everton should look to set up an attacking team here, as Stoke will be without both DIouf and Shaqiri, leaving Joe Allen as the only active player in the side to have scored a league goal in 2018. With Siggurdson out, Davy Klaassen should get a chance to shine in my opinion, playing alongside Rooney with Gueye anchoring the back line. A number of things could happen however, and Sam being the tactical dinosaur he is, is practically wetting himself over the thought of having to change the side for an AWAY game. Stoke sit 19th, Everton sit 9th, on paper this is a game Everton should and need to win, away form aside. The chase for 7th can still be on and hopefully Davy gets to show his stuff. However, something is holding me back, and I hope I am wrong, but I think the Potters drag Everton into a real snoozer Saturday afternoon, with the highlight surely being a footrace between Peter Crouch and Phil Jagielka.

Prediction: Stoke 1-1 Everton

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