Premier League: Stoke City v Everton match preview
A look ahead to the New Year’s Day fixture at the Britannia Stadium
Tuesday 31 December 2013
Following a 2-1 victory at home to Southampton on Sunday, Everton finished 2013 in the final Champions League spot and one place above local rivals Liverpool.
A good omen for Roberto Martinez’s side is 58% of teams sitting in fourth on New Year’s Day have either held or bettered their league position and consequently had the chance of entering club football’s elite competition. The Merseyside club were one of the seven teams to do so over the previous 12 seasons since it was upgraded from a UEFA Cup spot, however, were knocked out by Villarreal one round before the group stages.
Martinez would have been pleased to see his side bounce back after losing at home to Sunderland on Boxing Day thanks to goals from Seamus Coleman and on-loan striker Romelu Lukaku, who scored his ninth of the season and is the same number as Chelsea’s four forwards combined.
While Mark Hughes’ team had their four match unbeaten run emphatically ended after Christmas with 5-1 and 3-0 defeats away at Newcastle and Tottenham respectively, they are undefeated in their last six Premier League home games and will provide a stern test against favourites Everton.
Everton will be confident after their 4-0 win in the reverse fixture earlier in the season and will be looking to maintain the gap between themselves and Liverpool – who are at home to Hull – whereas Stoke are hoping to not get sucked into the relegation battle, as despite being in 12th, they are only five points above the drop zone.
KICK-OFF: New Year's Day, 3pm
PAST THREE MEETINGS
Everton 4 (Deulofeu, Coleman, Oviedo, Lukaku) Stoke 0, Premier League, November 2013
Everton 1 (Mirallas) Stoke 0, Premier League, March 2013
Stoke 1 (Jones) Everton 1 (Shawcross OG), Premier League, December 2012
Stoke are undefeated in their last six home league games.
Everton have conceded the fewest number of goals along with Arsenal so far this season (18).
Tim Howard returns for Everton after suspension, and the American keeper kept more clean sheets than any other Premier League goalkeeper in 2013 (16).
Seamus Coleman’s goal against Southampton was his fifth of the season which is already more goals than in his previous four Premier League season’s combined for the Toffees.
Stoke to win: 3.7
Everton to win: 2.05
TV: Highlights on BBC 1 at 10.50pm
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