Match Time: 8/12/2017 22:00 Saturday (GMT+8)
Everton: High hopes (Recent Form: DWWDWW)
Everton lost important striker Lukaku, who moved to Manchester United, but on the other hand ‘The Toffees’ signed a number of quality footballers such as Keane, Klaassen, Rooney or Sandro so the expectations are high. Everton take on Stoke on Saturday at the Goodison Park. “Saturday will be a difficult game. We followed Stoke in pre-season, they had a lot of games. They have made some changes to their team, they lost Marko Arnautovic and brought in some new players. Playing Stoke City is always a battle, home or away. We know it is a tough start – but it is about 38 games,” said manager Ronald Koeman. Funes Mori, Bolasie, Barkley, McCarthy, Coleman, Lennon are ruled out.
Stoke City: Average side (Recent Form: WLLWLW)
Stoke lost important striker Arnautovic and also several other players have left (Walters, Whelan or Bardsley). They brought a new defender Bruno Martins Indi, a few other footballers have joined in as free transfers. Generally, it seems that the squad is a bit weaker than it was in previous term. Manager Mark Hughes expects a tough challenge on Saturday, but he aims for a positive start: “We face a difficult test on the opening day against an Everton side who have made huge investments this summer. We know it is going to be a tough start for us, but by the same token they will feel the same too. We are just really looking forward to getting out there now and hopefully making a perfect start.” Ireland and Affelay are unavailable.
NOWGOAL BETTING VERDICT:
Summing up, it looks like hosts are favourites of this clash. Everton should be stronger than last season, whereas Stoke might be struggling this term. In my opinion Everton have more quality than their rivals and hosts may be able to get all 3 points.
Nowgoal Pick: Everton -0.50 @1.70
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