There has been very little for Everton fans to cheer about in the last month or so. Between untimely injuries, questionable decision-making and outright poor form, the Blues have stuttered in the month of December and find themselves in the lower half of the table, closer to the relegation zone than the European tier.
If your eggnog glass is half-full, then you know it's still not even halfway into the season, and there's plenty of quality in the squad for the Blues to pull it out in time to make a solid second-half charge up the table. However, should you be one of the glass is half-empty kind of people, then this holiday period might be enough to send you spiraling into further depression.
Stoke City come visiting on Boxing Day, two points and two places behind Everton. The Potters have been battle-hardened in the last few weeks, having taken on Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea in their last five fixtures. Of those games, they were mostly creditable with the highlight being a 3-2 beating of the Gunners at home, a task that EVerton failed to accomplish having led 2-0 with just minutes to go.
Stay tuned for lineups as we get closer to the game -
Everton XI - Howard, Baines, Jagielka (c), Stones, Coleman, Barry, McCarthy, Mirallas, Naismith, Barkley, Lukaku
Everton subs - Joel, Eto'o, McGeady, Kone, Distin, Garbutt, Alcaraz
Stoke XI - Begovic, Cameron, Shawcross, Muniesa, Pieters, Whelan, Nzonzi, Walters, Bojan, Arnautovic, Diouf
Stoke subs - Butland, Huth, Wilson, Palacios, Adam, Assaidi, Crouch
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