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Premier League

  • 1 January 2011
  • • 15:00
  • • Britannia Stadium, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire
  • Referee: A. Marriner
  • • Attendance: 27418
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Stoke City - Everton Preview: Tony Pulis and David Moyes both set to make changes as they look to push into top half

Stoke City - Everton Preview: Tony Pulis and David Moyes both set to make changes as they look to push into top half

TEAM NEWS

Stoke City


After the disastrous display against Fulham on Tuesday, expect Tony Pulis to make at least one change to the side, with forward Jonathan Walters almost certain to be dropped to the bench.

But don't expect summer signing Eidur Gudjohnsen to figure at all. The Icelander, a Champions League winner with Barcelona, arrived with high hopes, but a bulging waistline and a fixed tactical set-up have meant that the 32-year-old hasn't been able to squeeze into the starting line-up since signing late in August from Monaco, and local press are reporting that the club will listen to offers in January for the player's services.

Matthew Etherington will have been nursed through training after picking up a knock at Blackburn on Boxing Day before putting in a subdued display against Fulham, that eventually led to a rare early substitution for the left winger. However, he is likely to start if he can prove his fitness given the paucity of options available while Robert Huth misses out after amassing five bookings and earning a suspension.

Possible starting XI: Begovic; Wilkinson, Faye, Shawcross, Collins; Pennant, Wilson, Whitehead, Etherington; Fuller, Jones.

Everton


David Moyes is definitely without Dutch defender John Heitinga, and midfielder Leon Osman is also likely to be absent with a foot injury.

Phil Jagielka is poised to return to the starting XI after missing out on the trip to West Ham, while the Toffees are expected to name at least one nominal striker after Louis Saha, Jermaine Beckford and Yakubu all started on the bench at Upton Park.

Possible starting XI: Howard; Hibbert, Jagielka, Distin, Baines; Coleman, Neville, Fellaini, Arteta; Cahill; Yakubu.

Getting back to basics


Pulis will be hoping for a swift about turn in his side's home form, with the Potters losing their last two games at the Britannia in fairly convincing fashion.

First a masterclass in attacking play from Blackpool and then a dogged Fulham drew groans from the stands, and Stoke need to avoid defeat to stay in the top half of the table and not fall into the trap of a relegation scrap.

The Potters will be hoping for a much better display than the reverse fixture at Goodison, where they failed to muster a chance of note and were well beaten.

Rising up the ladder


A win for Everton will send them above the Potters and into the top half of the table at the start of 2011, and Moyes will be hopeful after seeing his side pick up three points against the Potters at Goodison earlier in the campaign and unbeaten against Stoke last season.

And the Toffees have managed to pick up their away form in recent weeks, with a brilliant victory at Manchester City perhaps providing the launchpad for the Merseyside team's European hopes.

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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
1Asmir BegovicGoalkeeper
28Andy WilkinsonDefender
17Ryan ShawcrossDefender
3Danny HigginbothamDefender
5Danny CollinsDefender
7Jermaine PennantMidfielder
18Dean WhiteheadMidfielder
24Rory DelapMidfielder
26Matthew EtheringtonMidfielder
10Ricardo FullerStriker
9Kenwyne JonesStriker
29Thomas SørensenGoalkeeper
25Abdoulaye FayeDefender
12Marc WilsonDefender
7Eidur Smari Gudjohnsen Striker
6Glenn WhelanMidfielder
19Jonathan WaltersStriker
17Tuncay ŞanlıMidfielder
24Tim HowardGoalkeeper
18Phil NevilleDefender
6Phil JagielkaDefender
15Sylvain DistinDefender
3Leighton BainesDefender
23Seamus ColemanDefender
25Marouane FellainiMidfielder
17Tim CahillMidfielder
8Mikel ArtetaMidfielder
22Steven PienaarMidfielder
8Louis SahaStriker
1Jan MuchaGoalkeeper
2Tony HibbertDefender
7Diniyar BilyaletdinovMidfielder
17Jack RodwellMidfielder
21Leon OsmanMidfielder
28Victor AnichebeStriker
9Jermaine BeckfordStriker
Players to Watch
Asmir Begovic
Asmir Begovic
Position: Goalkeeper
Squad Number: 1
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
It was 12 months ago that the Bosnian first came to prominence after replacing David James in goal at Portsmouth before becoming the object of a transfer tussle that eventually saw the young stopper move to the Potteries.

It's been a turbulent year for the 'keeper, who failed to cover himself in glory when Chelsea came calling for him over the summer, but he has since put those troubles behind him to overtake the respected Thomas Sorensen in goal.

Pulis has high hopes for the 23-year-old, and after being beaten by two strikes from range by Chris Baird, the focus will be on the former Pompey man on Saturday.
Tim Cahill
Tim Cahill
Position: Midfielder
Squad Number: 17
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
As a proud Aussie, the former Millwall man will be eager to restore some national pride after seeing the Ashes retained by England in midweek.

The 30-year-old, a tormentor of many sides with his brilliance in the air, will be the key Evertonian on Saturday, and his runs will have Shawcross and Faye confused.
Prediction
Stoke surely can't lose three in a row at home, and will likely go at it from the off rather than hand their opponents the initiative as they have been prone to doing recently. But the resolve, grit and touch of class within the Everton midfield should make this a steely encounter. Expect Everton to go, once again, back to the drawing board and pick up a solitary point from their travels - one that will be well received by Potters boss Pulis.
Editor's Prediction

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