Everton welcome Stoke City to the Goodison as they aim to build on their win against West Bromwich Albion. Everton will be facing a team on Saturday who are on the lookout for their first win. After an underwhelming performance against newly promoted Boro where they earned a draw, they were resoundingly beaten by Pep Guardiola-led Manchester City 4-1 and Mark Hughes will be desperate for a turnaround against Everton. The match is likely to be a close encounter but Everton will fancy their chances of a second successive win.
We take a look at the key battles which will likely dictate the course of the game.
ROMELU LUKAKU VS RYAN SHAWCROSS
Lukaku is in line for his first start of the season and he will look to focus on the season ahead having pledged his immediate future to Everton. The big Belgian will look to attain a level of consistency in his game and will be eager to get off the mark against a Stoke side who are yet to put up a win. Shawcross promised much a couple of seasons back but injuries and indifferent form has pegged him back to an extent. The two big men will be at it on Saturday and the tussle between the two will be interesting to watch.
MARKO ARNAUTOVIC VS ASHLEY WILLIAMS
Arnautovic hasn’t really been able to hit his stride just yet and will look to regain his form against Everton. He might have the advantage of facing Holgate on the left-flank for much of the game but Ashley Williams will be aware of his responsibilities and will look to cover for the 19-year old boy.
Arnautovic looks to cut inside and enjoys exploiting the central areas, which will set up for an interesting duel with Williams. The no-nonsense defender will have no fear in letting Arnautovic know his presence and their clash throughout the game will be of particular significance in the outcome of the match.
IDRISSA GUEYE VS GIANELLI IMBULA
Gueye has been impressive since his move to Everton and looks to be an important part of the team for the season. Strong in tackle and eager to snuff out attacks, he will look to be the answer to Stoke’s physicality. On the other hand, Imbula has been a stand-out performer for the Potters in midfield who have had very few things to write home about till now. Lending creativity from the midfield, Imbula has been comfortable and inventive on the ball in both the matches thus far.