Mark Hughes will be hoping his Stoke team can fare much better against high flying Everton than they did the first time they played them this season, as they welcome Roberto Martinez’s side to the Britannia on New Year’s Day.
Stoke are coming into the game off the back of a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Tottenham in London at the weekend and can’t be feeling much more optimistic about their chances against Everton. The Merseyside club find themselves in fourth place after defeating Southampton and other results going their way at the weekend. They have only lost twice so far this season and will not want to start 2014 with defeat.
The home side haven’t enjoyed the best of times recently. They have conceded eight goals in their last two games against Newcastle and Spurs – a goal every 18 minutes. Hughes will have to adequately prepare his defence if he wants to avoid a repeat at the hands of Everton.
Asmir Begovic is still out with a broken finger so Thomas Sorensen should continue to play in goal as his replacement. Robert Huth faces a late fitness test to determine whether he is available for selection. We will know for sure when Hughes gives his pre-match press conference.
Everton still have a number of injuries. Gerard Deulofeu is unlikely to return until the end of next month, and Phil Jagielka, Arouna Kone and Darron Gibson still have no timelines for their return to full fitness.
Everton defeated Stoke 4-0 when they first played each other earlier this season.
Stoke have conceded eight goals in their last two games – a goal every 18 minutes.
Everton have lost just one of their last five matches.
Stoke have won just one of their last five matches.
The on-loan Liverpool player has enjoyed a spell in the side lately. In 10 appearances for the club, Assaidi has created 11 chances for his team mates with eight of them coming from open play. This amounts to a chance created every 57 minutes, although he has no assists as yet. He has also created two clear-cut chances, although this only amounts to one every 312.5 minutes. He’s scored two goals while at Stoke from seven shots on goal. As only four of these were accurate however, he only has a shooting accuracy of 57%. Looking at his passing, Assaidi has attempted 142 passes in the attacking zone and completed 104 – an accuracy of 73%. He is much more dangerous in the final third where he has completed 55 of 63 passes. This gives him an accuracy in this area of 87%. Assaidi is, undoubtedly, one of Stoke’s main attacking threats and Everton will have to stop him in order to limit Stoke’s options.
Coleman has been in great form for Everton this season and it’s no surprise to see why he has started every game so far. In my opinion, he is currently one of the best full backs in the league. Defensively, he has a tackle success rate of 89.19% and has made 37 interceptions. He has yet to make an error in defence this season as well. Going forward, he has created 21 chances in open play and also has an assist. Taking all of this together, he is creating a chance every 78 minutes. He has even managed to score five goals with a shooting accuracy of 60%. His passing has also been very good this season. He has a 93% completion rate in the defensive zone with 309 of his 332 passes finding their target, and a 77% completion rate in the attacking zone with 344 of his 447 passes finding a team mate. With these levels of performance, it’s no surprise to see why Coleman is rated so highly by Everton fans and is a player that Stoke simply have to stop if they are to take anything from the game.
It may be a home game for Stoke but I just can’t see it going their way. Everton have been playing so well this year both home and away, and I can’t see that changing here. I think Everton will win 2-1.