Written by: @GrantMilesFF
Everton have surged into the top four and will go into this game licking their lips with confidence.
Roberto Martinez’s men won 4-0 when these sides last met and the Toffees will be wanting more of the same in this fixture.
Stoke have had a torrid Christmas losing emphatically away at Newcastle and Tottenham but are far harder to break down at home. Mark Hughes received a touchline ban at St. James’s Park but will be looking for a reaction from his players at the Britannia stadium.
Before these two defeats, Stoke had gone on a four game unbeaten run and will be hoping to start 2014 in a more resolute manner. The Potters sit five points above the relegation zone but will be hoping they can make a push for the top ten in the New Year.
Martinez will also being hoping his Everton side can be looking onwards and upwards and the Toffees have only tasted defeat twice this season in the Premier League, less than any other outfit.
Everton will have to play this game though without captain Phil Jagielka who faces a four week layoff on the sidelines with a hamstring injury. They will also be without loan star Deulofeu who also has a hamstring problem, whilst Arouna Kone and Darron Gibson are both unavailable with knee complaints. Alcaraz and Baines both managed to successfully return to the fold following spells away in the win against Southampton.
Mark Hughes will have a few more players at his disposal for this game with Glenn Whelan and Marc Wilson both back from suspension, and Stephen Ireland is back from illness. There are a few injuries though as Asmir Begovic and Robert Huth miss out with knee injuries, Andy Wilkinson also faces a late fitness test following a heel problem.
Stoke will be hoping to conjure up some of their tried and tested home form in this encounter to get a New Year boost, but Everton are on a rich run of form and are dreaming of Champions League football.
Stoke City v Everton Pre-Match Stats
Stoke have only won two of their last 16 league games against Everton (D5 L9).
In the reverse fixture in November, Everton scored more goals (four) than they had in their last five meetings with Stoke City in the Premier League combined (three).
Stoke have won seven points in 11 Premier League games this season against sides currently in the top 12 places of the table (W1 D4 L6).
Everton full back Seamus Coleman has scored three goals in his last four Premier League appearances.
Tottenham’s Kyle Walker (27) is the only Premier League defender to have created more chances than Coleman this season (22).
Everton’s defenders have scored nine goals this season, five more than Stoke’s strikers have mustered (4).
Stoke’s total of four goals from strikers is the fewest of any Premier League club this season.
16 of Stoke’s 21 Premier League points this season have come at the Britannia Stadium (76%).
Everton (9) are the only Premier League team to have conceded fewer than 10 goals away from home this season.
Everton have scored inside the last 20 minutes in eight of their last 11 Premier League games.