Happy New Year everyone!
What's better to ease that New Year's hangover than a dose of beautiful attacking football from the Toffees? Unfortunately as we have an impotent strike force and are playing argicultural Stoke I'm not getting my hopes up.
New Year new start and all though, maybe the Yak, Saha and Beckford will have pledged to score some goals in 2011.....
With Liverpool losing at home to Wolves in midweek (I would laugh if we weren't doing so badly as well) we actually moved up a place to a more respectable 11th. Which just goes to show how tight the league still is, depsite being more than halfway through.
I have said this several times this season but two decent results in our next two games against Stoke and then Spurs on Wednesday will really set us up for a more promising campaign than previously thought. Sadly though with our woes in front of goal showing no signs of improving I'm counting on us doing the business.
As Sibi said we played some great stuff against West Ham, but as soon as we got to the edge of the area we didn't know what to do. Cahill struggled as a lone striker, though as ever he worked extremely hard. Cahill leaves for the Asia Cup after this game, potentially missing up to a month. With our top scorer gone I really have no idea where the goals will come from - hopefully Moyes will find another gem in the loan market.
Anyway, here is some brighter news to ease the gloom. We are a very tough side to beat away from home - we have gone a club record eight Premier League games without defeat and haven't lost to Stoke since they were promoted in 2008.
The Potters lie just above us in 10th place but lost 2-0 a home to Fulham last time out, with Tony Puis threatening to wring the changes if their poor form continues,
Expect plenty of noise, long throws, aerial challenges and corners. It isn't pretty but Stoke deserve credit for doing what they do well and comfortably staying in the Premier League the past two seasons without spending too much cash.
It is going to be tough but the psychological aspect of putting 2010 behind us may inpire the players to a fresh start.
With Cahill looking to sign off with a win and the strikers jostling to be first in line to replace him a battling away win isn't unlikley, and those three points could take us up as high as eighth.
Then we may be able to look forward to 2011 with optimism rather than dread....
Match facts & stats
• Everton have won almost half of the 109 league meetings. They have claimed 53 victories, compared to 27 for Stoke.
• Stoke have not beaten Everton in any competition since a top-flight home win in December 1982 (D3, L9).
• The Toffees are unbeaten in all four league visits to Stoke during that time.
• Their only win in the last five league matches was 2-0 at Blackburn on Boxing Day.
• Stoke are unbeaten when scoring first this season - winning five times and drawing once.
• The Potters have the worst first-half record in the division - leading at half time in only one of their 19 matches and scoring a mere four goals.
• Jonathan Walters is poised for his 250th club career start.
• Glenn Whelan could make his 100th appearance for Stoke.
• The club have lost six of their nine Premier League matches on New Year's Day, winning twice. Their only victory in the last seven matches on 1 January was 2-0 at Middlesbrough in 2008.
• Everton are unbeaten in their last eight league away matches. This is their longest top-flight run without an away defeat since a 10-match streak from December 1984 to May 1985.
• They have drawn six of their last nine league matches.
• Tim Cahill will make his 400th English league appearance. He has scored 106 goals in 399 matches.
• Leighton Baines has made 299 club career appearances.