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Everton vs Stoke City – Match preview, likely line-ups and score prediction

Jake Jackman

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Everton

Everton have had a busy summer and they are heading into the opening weekend in good spirits ahead of a match against Stoke City. They will have ambitions of breaking into the top six, but they may find that difficult to do given the strength of the teams that finished above them last season. On the other hand, the visitors will be looking to progress during the coming campaign after an underwhelming couple of years.

The big news that came out of Goodison Park this summer was the return of Wayne Rooney. The forward returned to his boyhood club and he will be hoping to end his campaign on a high back in Merseyside. It will be a lot of pressure to replace Romelu Lukaku, but he will relish the challenge. They have been one of the leading spenders and if they start strongly, they could be difficult to stop.

Mark Hughes needs to start the season well, otherwise he could quickly find himself out of a job. He is one of the longest serving managers in the Premier League, but Stoke have gone stale in recent years and a change could be required to propel them up the league table. The sale of Marko Arnautovic was a blow, but Kurt Zouma arrives in what should be a good loan deal. The Potters have a lot of talent, but their problem has been delivering consistency.

Pre-season form

The Toffees managed to qualify from their Europa League tie against Ruzomberok. The two performances weren’t excellent, but they got the job done and qualified for the final qualifying round. In terms of friendlies, they got a good win over FC Twente, but they didn’t play any top opposition.

Stoke City had a mixed pre-season, but they did test themselves against good opposition teams, which should have provided them with useful preparation. Last weekend, they beat RB Leipzig and delivered an assured performance.

Predicted line-ups

Michael Keane, Davy Klaassen, Wayne Rooney and Sandro are all in line to make their Premier League debuts for the club. Cuco Martina is another new signing that could feature.

Stoke could start with a 3-4-2-1 formation after using it against Leipzig. Mame Biram Diouf could start as a makeshift right wing-back, while Sadio Berahino could be the striker to start the season.

Team News

Aaron Lennon is a doubt ahead of the new season. James McCarthy and Ross Barkley are unlikely to feature until the end of the month. Yannick Bolasie, Ramiro Funes Mori and Seamus Coleman are on the long-term injury list.

Bojan has returned to the club, but he is suffering with a calf injury. Josh Tymon, Ibrahim Afellay and Stephen Ireland are other players that are unlikely to feature this weekend.

Score Prediction: Everton 2-1 Stoke City

It will be difficult for Everton at the start of the season as they have signed a lot of new players and they need time to gel as a team. They didn’t have a great number of friendlies, but they have played two competitive fixtures and that should give them an edge when it comes to fitness. Stoke are not looking like a great team and Hughes’ time at the club is coming to an end. The Toffees should have enough to earn the three points.

Jake is a journalist based in the South East. He is a Newcastle United fan and has a keen interest in Dutch football. Jake can be found on Twitter here - @jakejackmann.

Everton

Wilmar Barrios would be best joining Everton this summer

The Colombian stood out at the World Cup but Tottenham are also keen.

Mathew Nash

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Everton are the latest club being linked with a move for Boca Juniors midfielder Wilmar Barrios. The 24-year-old, who is also being courted by Tottenham Hotspur, has just come off the back of an excellent World Cup. TyC Sport are now suggesting that Everton would like to snap him up.

Barrios has a release clause of €18 million (£15.9m) and Everton are seemingly ready to test his resolve to remain in Argentina until the new year.

He showed at the tournament in Russia that he is ready for a move to Europe. Landing a headbutt on Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson will surely only help him win over fans at Goodison Park should he make the move.

But Tottenham’s interest has been in the pipeline for much longer. Everton will likely have a fight on trying to convince Barrios to head their way and ignore the interest from North London.

However, Barrios might be better off heading to Everton.

Why?

He is far more likely to get regular football at Everton. Central midfield is a problem area for the Toffees.

(Photo credit should read JUAN MABROMATA/AFP/Getty Images)

Morgan Schneiderlin is universally unpopular with the Everton fans. James McCarthy is injured. Mo Besic, it seems, is up for grabs. The options in midfield for Everton are not as plentiful as they once were. Some youngsters, such as Tom Davies and Callum Connolly are coming through, but Everton still need to improve the middle of the park and Barrios partnered with Idrissa Gana Gueye could prove formidable.

Tottenham, on the other hand, have the likes of Victor Wanyama, Mousa Dembele, Eric Dier, Moussa Sissoko and Harry Winks all vying for the midfield places.

Barrios would be better off at Everton where he can get his feet down and running as soon as possible.

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Jordan Pickford must bring his superb World Cup form back to Goodison Park

The 24-year-old was a stand-out performer in Russia.

Max Cohen

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Jordan Pickford
Photo: Getty Images

After winning out on the battle to be England’s number one at the World Cup, Jordan Pickford lit up England’s World Cup run with stunning saves and match-winning performances.

Now, the 24-year-old faces a critical campaign at Everton and must continue his bright form in the Premier League. 

Undoubtedly the Tofees’ best performer last year, Pickford can make a case to become one of the best keepers in the world under the management of Marco Silva.

Signed from Sunderland in 2017, he  became the most expensive English goalkeeper ever, but at times struggled to fulfil his sky-high potential at Goodison Park.

Although Pickford was constantly one of Everton’s brightest stars, offering consistency in a troubled season, he was occasionally prone to rash decisions.

But, in Russia, the Englishman truly brought his career to the next level with superb outings on the world’s biggest stage. The Colombia match will long live in the memory, with his penalty shootout heroics preceded by an excellent stop in the dying minutes of normal time.

(Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)

The 24-year-old’s heroics drew the plaudits of England’s 1966 World Cup winning goalkeeper Gordon Banks, who tipped Pickford to be England’s number one for the foreseeable future.

“I thought he played really well. I was quite surprised, when you think he is quite young. I am sure the manager will pick him for the next few games. If he keeps playing as he has done he will stay with that job, definitely.”

All together, his tournament led to impassioned calls for him to be awarded the Golden Glove, and rightfully so.

Jordan Pickford can now be considered one of the best young goalkeepers in the world, and under Marco Silva he must bring his exquisite England form to the domestic front.

With a world-class goalkeeper between the sticks, the Toffees’ chances of making a push for the European places suddenly look a lot more realistic.

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Everton news round-up: Zaha stays, Klaassen to Besiktas unlikely and Lascelles not interested

All the latest news and gossip from Everton.

Mathew Nash

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Zaha not for sale

Everton have been linked with a move for Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha recently, along with a host of other clubs.

The Ivorian has recently rejected a new deal at Selhurst Park which sparked an apparent increase in the interest.

But his manager Roy Hodgson has made it clear, no deal will be going ahead.

The Eagles boss says Zaha is simply not for sale. As reported by the Liverpool Echo, the £70 million player will stay with Palace ‘for the next four years’, the length of his current contract.

(Photo credit should read OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images)

Tosun on Klaassen

Davy Klaassen has been linked with an Everton exit all summer, after a poor debut campaign at Goodison Park.

The Dutchman, who joined for £23.6 million last summer, has struggled on Merseyside.

One team who have been heavily linked with a move for the player are Turkish side Besiktas. But current Everton striker Cenk Tosun has made it clear that deal won’t happen.

He told Sabah that Klaassen was not keen on a move to the Turkish Super Lig.

Lascelles no-go

Everton have recently been linked with a move for Jamaal Lascelles but that now seems to be a no-go. The £25m-rated defender has no interest in leaving his current club.

According to The Times, the 24-year-old is happy at St James’ Park and settled in the area. He enjoys playing for Rafa Benitez and captaining the side.

Everton, along with West Ham United, will, therefore, need to identify a new centre-back target.

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