Everton vs Stoke – Premier League preview and team news

Everton will be intent on returning to the top half of the Premier League with a win over Stoke City, who themselves will be disappointed with their current position of 13th.

It has been an indifferent season throughout for the hosts, and they suffered a new low last time out against Southampton, ending up well beaten after conceding three poor goals from crosses into their penalty area.

Manager Roberto Martinez is currently struggling to find a solution to their faltering form, which leaves them some 10 points adrift of fourth place. The defending still leaves plenty to be desired, while Romelu Lukaku is struggling for goals, so the Goodison Park faithful will be hoping for better here.

Conceding early on to leaders Chelsea put Stoke in a difficult position on Monday evening, and despite having plenty of possession they were unable to create many chances of note, and the subsequent defeat leaves them just four points clear of danger.

One positive to draw from the game, however, was the performance of Bojan Krkic, who has shown no shortage of effort and commitment since his move from Barcelona. He comes up against a side for whom former teammate Gerard Deulofeu did the damage in this fixture last season.

James McCarthy and Kevin Mirallas both return to bolster Everton, but they are still without Darron Gibson, Tony Hibbert and Leon Osman.

Stoke are waiting on the fitness of Peter Crouch, after an injury forced him off against Chelsea, while Stephen Ireland is a major doubt with a knee problem.

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