Bet 365 Stadium – Premier League
Stoke host Everton in the Premier League on Saturday, desperate for three points having failed to win in their last six consecutive games. Everton have improved following a terrible start to 2018, although could see their survival back in jeopardy if they lost this weekend.
Everton came out on top when the two sides met in August, with Wayne Rooney scoring the only goal for the hosts. The Toffees dominated the game, with over 60% possession, although Jordan Pickford was required to make a number of decent saves to secure the points.
Paul Lambert has refused to put a time-scale on Mame Diouf's return from a shoulder injury, although it is believed to be serious. Diouf joined Lee Grant on the sidelines, after the 'keeper suffered a broken wrist at the beginning of the month.
Sam Allardyce is facing a centre-back dilemma after Ashley Williams received a red-card suspension against Burnley. With Eliaquim Mangala sidelines due to a knee problem has just 35-year-old Phil Jagielka available to play alongside Michael Keane. James McCarthy is Everton's only long-term injury, with his broken leg discounting him for the season.
Stoke v Everton Preview and Predictions
The appointment of Paul Lambert to Stoke's front bench has had far from the desired effect. Very little has changed under the new manager with the Potter's remaining the relegation zone.
He has managed to stem the defensive leak somewhat, reverting to a back four with the not-limited talents of Bruno Martins Indi and Kurt Zouma at centre-back. This contributed to Stoke holding the likes of Leicester and Brighton to draws, but has had the unwanted consequence of stymying the Potter's offensive plays. Xherdan Shaqiri has been carrying the offensive threat on his back, but, if the Swiss winger is stopped, so is Lambert's side.
Allardyce, on the other hand, has succeeded where his opposite number failed and brought his side clear of the bottom three. He has, of course, higher quality players at his disposal, and yet, they are still playing far from their potential. Everton's win against Brighton, which saw them leapfrog the Seagulls into the top half of the table, saw a dominant display from the Toffees, although they benefitted from an own goal and red card from the visitors.
Their previous game, a draw against Burnley, showed Everton's frailties, as they panicked at 1-0 when Burnley started to play with aggression. Fortunately for Allardyce, Stoke have rarely shown that level of commitment this season, and should allow the Blues to play their natural passing game.
Cenk Tosun to score anytime at 11/4
The Turkish forward has scored in his last two games, and is full of confidence.
Everton to win 2-1 at 12/1
Stoke's heads appeared to have dropped against Manchester City and Lambert will struggle to raise them, although the likes of Shaqiri will appreciate the opportunity to attack, having defended almost all game on Monday.