After falling outside the European positions, Everton could sure use a win against Stoke City today at Goodison Park (10 am ET, watch live online via NBC Sports Live Extra). With Stoke showing little bite on the road, could it be simple enough for the hosts?
The Merseyside Derby may have been a thriller last weekend, but Roberto Martinez still won’t be thrilled about his side recording their third straight draw, particularly when Everton had the lead until the 89th minute. It’s not going to help that the Toffees are without Leighton Baines (and his spectacular free kicks) after the left-back limped off early in the second half against Liverpool. Perhaps surprisingly, Ross Barkley and Kevin Miralles also sit this one out, with Leon Osman, Gerard Deulofeu and Bryan Oviedo all stepping in. Romelu Lukaku, of course, takes up his place spearheading the attack. With seven goals in ten games, there’s almost no stopping the mighty Belgian.
Particularly considering Stoke are without Robert Huth, who likely won’t be seen again until after the new year thanks to a knee injury. The defender’s been a regular for the Potters for the past four seasons and is one of the reasons for their stingy defense. Will Marc Muniesa, getting his first Premier League start, be able to withstand the Everton — and particularly the Lukaku — attack?
Everton: Howard, Coleman, Oviedo, Distin, Jagielka, Deulofeu, Pienaar, Barry, McCarthy, Osman, Lukaku
Subs: Joel, Hibbert, Heitinga, Jelavic, Mirallas, Barkley, Stones
Stoke City: Begovic; Cameron, Shawcross, Muniesa, Pieters; Walters, Whelan, Nzonzi, Adam, Assaidi; Crouch
Subs: Sorensen, Wilkinson, Wilson, Ireland, Palacios, Shea, Jones