Everton vs. Stoke City: Match Preview

BOLTON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 28: Everton legend Graeme Sharp looks at tributes to another legend Gary Speed outside Goodison Park. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Please welcome RBM's latest writer, Calvin. An adopted son of Buffalo, NY, he is a fan of local sides the Bills, Bulls and Sabres, but he also has a passion for the Toffees. For his first piece he previews what will undoubtedly be an emotional day at Goodison Park on Sunday. Welcome to the team Calvin.

This weekend's home fixture against Stoke City is going to be marked by sadness around Goodison Park following the untimely passing of legendary Toffee Gary Speed. At the time of his death, Speed was manager of Wales and the football community the world over has been mourning his loss.

Keep it here at Royal Blue Mersey on Sunday for the gamethread. More after the jump.

Everton will be looking for their third win on the trot in the Premiership, and continuing their revival as they move up the table. In the corresponding fixture last year, the Toffees dominated possession and created the better of the chances, but only squeaked out a 1-0 win, a story that has become increasingly familiar in recent years to Everton fans.

The Potters meanwhile come into the game having secured qualification into the UEFA Europa League last 32. That was a much-needed shot in the arm for the Tony Pulis-led side that has struggled away from the confines of Britannia Stadium this year, with only one road win and a -12 goal differential. Stoke sit 12th in the table, just a point behind Everton.

Everton manager David Moyes has bemoaned the lack of creativity and consistent goalscoring in his squad. Fans will be curious to see if the manager continues to use his conservative 4-4-1-1 formation, or gambles on an attack-oriented lineup with Diniyar Bilyaletdinov, Seamus Coleman and Royston Drenthe all on the field. Greek teenager Apostolos Vellios has scored thrice in his off-the-bench performances, and a spot in the starting XI could happen this weekend.

Team News

Everton duo Jack Rodwell and Sylvain Distin will be undergoing late fitness tests while captain Phil Neville might figure in Moyes' plans after recovering from a hamstring injury. Speedy winger Drenthe is back from suspension and is expected to start.

Pulis will be juggling his squad again after Stoke's European adventures and get some fresh legs on the pitch. Ineligible for European play, defender Jonathan Woodgate will be back in the starting lineup as well. Andy Wilkinson is expected to miss another game and Ryan Shotton will take his place in the back four.

Keys To The Game

Everton will need to control possession again and distribute the ball effectively around the park. Stoke are a very similar side to Bolton who the Toffees beat last week. Expect the Potters to clog up the area between the box and the midfield circle, and will dare Everton to break through. Chances on Thomas Sorensen's goal will be few, and accurate finishing will be a must, as always.

Stoke wingers Jermaine Pennant and Matthew Etherington will be taking every opportunity to land crosses in the Everton box - this will be a challenge especially if Distin does not play. Kenwyne Jones, Jonathan Walters and Peter Crouch are all strong in the air, so the onus will be on Leighton Baines and Tony Hibbert to cut out the crosses before they can do much damage.

Match Facts

  • Last week's victory at Bolton Wanderers marked the first time this season Everton strung two wins in a row.
  • However, the Toffees haven't managed a clean sheet at home in the past six fixtures.
  • Apart from coming on strong in the second half of the season in recent times, this year Everton have finished games strong too, with a league-leading 53% of their goals being scored in the last fifteen minutes of the game.
  • Stoke City, founded in 1863, is the oldest professional football club in the Premier League.
  • History is against them this weekend however, with four straight away losses and only one win against Everton in their last six, with the solitary one coming at Stoke earlier in 2011.
  • The Potters have the highest percentage of goals from set-pieces in the Premiership with 63%.
  • Pennant also leads the league, accounting for 11.5 crosses a game.
X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Royal Blue Mersey

You must be a member of Royal Blue Mersey to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Royal Blue Mersey. You should read them.

Join Royal Blue Mersey

You must be a member of Royal Blue Mersey to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Royal Blue Mersey. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9353_tracker