The Everton fans are feeling apprehensive in the Transfer Tavern ahead of their side’s trip to face Stoke City at the Bet365 Stadium tomorrow afternoon.
Sam Allardyce takes his side to Staffordshire on the back of a run of 5 successive away defeats in the Premier League. The Toffees failure to collect points on the road has significantly restricted their progress this season, so Allardyce will be hoping his players can finally banish their demons and record their first victory away from home since they beat Newcastle in December.
Everton’s last away game was against Burnley at Turf Moor, and despite making a promising opening to the game in the first-half, they were eventually defeated by 2 goals to 1. Ashley Barnes was a constant menace for The Clarets against Everton’s defence all afternoon, and he got his just reward for his persistence by scoring Burnley’s equaliser.
The ease in which Barnes was consistently allowed to run in behind the defence was truly staggering. Neither Michael Keane or Ashley Williams could do anything to stop him, and in truth the latter looked completely out of his depth at Turf Moor.
Thankfully for the Everton supporters, Williams is suspended for their trip to Stoke today due to the red card he received against Burnley for violent conduct, so Phil Jagielka should keep his place in the side today alongside Keane. Jagielka’s involvement is a huge bonus for the club, as his presence at centre-back will provide a much more calming influence than Williams.
When the 40-time capped England international is captaining the side, Everton are far more defensively resolute and organised across the pitch, so the importance of his involvement cannot be expressed highly enough. Stoke City are currently in 19th position and struggling to climb out of the bottom-three, but their recent performances under Paul Lambert suggest Everton’s defence will need to be on top form to prevent them from scoring.
Everton will be desperate to ensure they finally end their barren run of form on the road tomorrow afternoon, and with Jagielka in the side they should have a fantastic opportunity to achieve that aim.
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