Everton look to keep the Champions League dream alive by beating a Stoke side that are travelling to Goodison Park this weekend.
The Blues are missing two key players to suspension, in Marouane Fellaini and Steven Pienaar. The man to fill a vacant wing position over the season has been Steven Naismith, who is almost certainly likely to start given this and Stoke’s heading threat. Bryan Oviedo is the other player who could take up the left wing slot.
As for the rather large gap left by Fellaini, Moyes will have two options. Nikica Jelavic, who scored two weeks ago against Champions Manchester City, could join Victor Anichebe in attack. The other option the Everton gaffer has is to select Phil Neville, who was dropped after the awful showing at Wigan, and push Leon Osman off Anichebe. Phil Jagielka and Tim Howard are both nearing returns and will provide a healthy selection headache as Jan Mucha and John Heitinga put in magnificent displays to beat Man City.
Tony Pullis has centre-back Robert Huth available for selection again after returning from a 3-match suspension for an off the ball incident with former Toffee man Philippe Senderos. The Potters squad is near full strength, with Geoff Cameron being the only doubt for the weekend and a match-day fitness test will be taken for the American.
Set Pieces. Never has this Everton side been so woeful at set pieces under Moyes’ tenure, as every corner or freekick seems to lead to a dangerous moment. Stoke however are ever consistent in their defending and attacking of set pieces and this is something that the Everton management have surely been focusing on in training this week.
Mistakes. The recent history of these games have been riddled with mistakes, ranging from Goalkeeping errors to Own Goals to Defensive errors. Three of the last four meetings between the Clubs have produced own goals. Jagielka for Stoke in January 2011, Crouch for Everton in May 2012 and Shawcross for Everton in December 2012.
D (Oldham) -L (Norwich) -W (Oldham)-W (Reading)-L (Wigan) -W (Man City)
L (Arsenal) -W (Reading) -L (Fulham) -D (West Ham) -L (Newcastle) -D (West Brom)
Everton Predicted Line Up
Coleman Jagielka Distin Baines
Naismith — — — — — — Mirallas
Stoke Predicted Line Up
Cameron Huth Shawcross Wilkinson
Walters Whelan N’Zonzi Etherington
Referee: Mike Jones
Assistant referee: P Kirkup
Assistant referee: S Burt
Fourth official: J Moss