Date:Tuesday May 1 2012
Tuesday, May 1
A supremely confident Everton side will travel to the Brittania to take on a tough Stoke side on Tuesday night. Everton have been on fire of late notching up 12 goals in their last 3 league outings, however, Stoke will provide a tough test, especially since it is at the Brittania. Everton are coming off a dominant 4-0 victory over Fulham on the weekend, with star man Nikica Jelavic grabbing yet another brace, a result which brought their unbeaten streak in the league to 7. Meanwhile, Stoke managed to scrap a 1-1 draw against Arsenal at the Brittania on the weekend, although they still have only won once in their past 8 matches. Some would say that both teams will have nothing to play for, but from an Everton perspective we will want to keep our terrific run of form going and hopefully onto next season and I am sure Stoke fans will not want to see a poor Stoke side on Tuesday night.
Aussie and Everton stalwart Tim Cahill had this to say about the trip to Stoke
'I think it's hard to look forward to Stoke because physically they're very demanding and tactically, with their long throws and their set plays, it can be quite a grind. Tony Pulis has done a great job with that team and obviously the players that they've got work really well together. If we go to a place like that even at 90 per cent, it's not going to be enough. We really need to make sure that we stop them physically and then hopefully we play enough football to win the game.'
Stoke gaffer Tony Pulis had this to say about the upcoming fixture against Everton
'In many respects, the challenge they present will make this a tougher game for us than the Arsenal game (last Saturday) because they have more of a physical presence about them. We know then that we will have to perform as well, if not better, as we did against Arsenal and we'll need the crowd right behind us as well.'
Stoke City have enjoyed a nice run of fitness from the squad and currently have a clean bill of health ahead of the match. Although, due to the short turnaround Tony Pulis may look to shuffle the deck and give the rest of his squad a run out, as he has promised reserve keeper Thomas Sorensen a game before the close of the season.
Possible Starting XI: Sorensen, Shotton, Shawcross, Huth, Wilson, Pennant, Whelan, Whitehead, Etherington, Walters, Crouch
The lanky Stoke striker has found his form again under Tony Pulis after a tumultuous time at Tottenham. Of course, Stokes play is seemingly built for Peter Crouch, although he has scored some very good goals and looks a big threat. Will pose a massive problem to Everton's centre backs especially since between Heitinga and Jagielka, they aren't the tallest defenders in the league, so his height could pose the defence a major problem.
Not much has changed for Everton from their last game. Jack Rodwell and Leighton Baines are still sidelined with hamstring injuries, meaning Sylvain Distin will continue his role at left back. With the short turnaround from the Fulham game it will be interesting to see if David Moyes makes any changes to the starting XI who are absolutely flying.
Possible Starting XI: Howard, Hibbert, Heitinga, Jagielka, Distin, Gibson, Neville, Pienaar, Osman, Fellaini, Jelavic
The man on loan from Tottenham has totally changed the way Everton has played in recent weeks, his link up play with new boy Jelavic and Fellaini has been superb, the team seems to be playing free flowing football and it is due to the diminutive South African. Has registered assists in the past 3 league matches and scored twice in those 3 games. The way Pienaar is playing, I would be tempted to man mark him, because the difference with and without him is drastic to say the least. If Stoke do not contain him, Everton will be hoping for another 4 goals.
1. Everton's new fan favourite Nikica Jelavic scored his 10th goal on the weekend, and in doing so, became the fastest Everton player to reach the mark in 100yrs
2. Continuing on the theme of Jelavic, his brace on the weekend for his third in a row, going a list of only 7 Everton players to do so, another brace will make that 4 consecutive braces in a row, and that was only done by one man, the great Dixie Dean
3. Everton academy graduate Leon Osman made his 300th Everton appearance on the weekend against Fulham
4. If Everton score another 4 against Stoke, they will only become the 2nd side in the history of the Premier League to score 4 goals in 4 consecutive matches, the only other team to do so was the Manchester United team in 2000.
5. After winning none of the first 5 meetings between the sides, Stoke have now won 2 in a row against Everton, including a 1-0 win at Goodison earlier in the season.
Britannia is a very difficult place togo, just ask Arsenal. I don't see us scoring another 4 goals, but the way we are playing, with the front 3 of Pienaar, Jelavic and Fellaini, it would be hard not to back Everton, especially since Stoke are not having the best of runs to end the season. I will go for a hard fought 2-1 victory to Everton with star frontman Nikica Jelavic to bag another brace and continue his unbelievable run of form since he signed, and Peter Crouch for a consolation goal. COME ON TOFFEES!! NANANANANANA JELA JELAVIC!!!
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Date:Tuesday May 1 2012
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