Sports

Predicted Everton lineup against Stoke City; six new signings to start

Predicted Everton lineup against Stoke City; six new signings to start

With Lukaku having seemingly been Chelsea's first choice, how the two strikers adapt to leading the line for title contenders is one of the Premier League's most enticing subplots, while Wayne Rooney's return to Goodison Park is one for the romantics.

The Toffees' only success in their opening match in the last nine Premier League seasons came in 2012-13, beating Manchester United 1-0 at Goodison Park. "But compare that to the big teams and what they have on the bench or even in the stands and it is a big difference to Everton".

It was October 15 before Stoke collected their first league win last season, September 26 the season before that and September 29 the campaign before that. The end of the transfer window is more realistic to speak of targets and what is possible.

Everton are a continual top-half Premier League club, but can not seem to break into the top four.

Bournemouth conceded 67 goals last season, but the arrivals of Ake and goalkeeper Asmir Begovic from Stamford Bridge should improve their solidity as Howe looks to build on last season's impressive ninth-place finish.

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"A hard game, Stoke City is always a battle", he remarked.

Potters boss Mark Hughes has been trying to get the 25-year-old centre-half back to the bet365 Stadium on a permanent basis following his successful loan spell last season.

And - against a Stoke side that are historically bad starters - a home win looks a good bet for Rooney and Ronald Koeman's men. We've just got to make sure we don't get wrapped up in that. Everton have enjoyed a positive head-to-head record against the Potters too. "He will have a medical and that takes time, so the thinking is he will be ready to go from Monday".

"Okay, I believe if we get the picture of the last players we are stronger than last season but being stronger than last season does not mean you will win against the big six because they also will be more strong than last season".

"They've brought good players in but lost key players too, like Lukaku". There is always a turnover of players at this stage and you don't know until you start playing where you are.


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