Stoke City v Everton
Kevin Mirallas and Tony Hibbert will both miss the game at the Britannia. Belgian Mirallas returned from a hamstring problem to play the first 45 minutes against Tottenham, but boss David Moyes has revealed he will give his forward more time to achieve full fitness.
Full-back Hibbert is scheduled to have an operation on his calf on Monday and
skipper Phil Neville, who has missed the last five matches, will again be absent as he continues his recovery from knee surgery.
Tony Pulis will have to make at least one change to the team that drew with Aston Villa as right-back Ryan Shotton serves a one-match suspension after being sent off at Villa Park last weekend.
The Stoke boss said: “We have a couple of options. Deano [Dean Whitehead] has played in that position before, and Wilko [Andy Wilkinson] is available again, so we will assess things and then make a decision.”
Charlie Adam is back in contention after completing a one-match ban for accumulating five yellow cards, but Saturday’s game is likely to come too soon for Michael Owen who played 70 minutes in a behind-closed-doors friendly against Preston North End on Tuesday.
Last outing: 0-0 (a) Aston Villa, Saturday 8 December
Last five: DWWWD
A shaky start to the season saw Stoke go without a win in their first five Premier League games, but a rich vein of form over the last month has catapulted Tony Pulis’ side into the top half of the table. They are unbeaten in their last 15 matches at the Britannia Stadium and go into Saturday’s game sitting just three points outside the Champions League positions.
Last outing: 2-1 (h) Tottenham, Sunday 9 December
Last five: LDDDW
Similarly to Stoke, Everton enter Saturday’s clash with some positive momentum following encouraging results against heavyweights Arsenal, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur. A win by four goals or more at the weekend would see David Moyes side move into third spot in the Premier League, leapfrogging Chelsea who are currently in Japan competing in the World Club Cup.
Stoke 1-1 Everton, 1 May 2012
Everton battled for a hard-earned point on their last visit to the Britannia Stadium in May. The Blues gained an advantage just before half-time when Peter Crouch diverted Tony Hibbert’s cross into his own net. However, they were forced to accept a draw when substitute Cameron Jerome hit a second-half equaliser just two minutes after his arrival from the bench.
Stoke 2-3 Everton, 14 September 2008
The first Premier League meeting between the two clubs resulted in a five-goal thriller in September 2008. Tim Cahill was the toast of the blue half of Merseyside with his winner 13 minutes from time. Everton had earlier squandered a two-goal lead as strikes from Yakubu and Victor Anichebe were cancelled out by a Seyi Olofinjana strike and an own goal from Phil Jagielka.
Everton have won the last three times they have played on 15 December, a sequence they will be aiming to extend this weekend. Back in 1985, Goodison Park witnessed a memorable win on this date as Nottingham Forest were thrashed 5-0. Peter Reid got the ball rolling, with further strikes from Graeme Sharp (2), Kevin Sheedy and Trevor Steven securing a comprehensive win for Howard Kendall’s team.
Several players have worn the jersey of both clubs, including, and in no particular order: Howard Kendall, Roy Vernon, Adrian Heath, Neville Southall, Paul Bracewell, Peter Beagrie, Mickey Thomas and James Beattie. Alan Ball never played for the Potters but did have a spell as their manager between 1989 and 1991.
- Tim Howard is set to play his 200th consecutive Premier League match at the Britannia Stadium. The American is now just 13 matches behind Neville Southall’s record of 212 successive league matches.
- John Heitinga, who came on as an injury-time substitute against Tottenham last Sunday, has now made 100 Premier League appearances for Everton.
- Should Stoke score against Everton, it will be the 1000th goal the Blues have conceded in the Premier League. Last week, Steven Pienaar had the honour of scoring the Club’s 1000th and Nikica Jelavic the 1,001st.
- Everton and Stoke locked horns on December 15 in 1889. However, the game came to a premature end on 75 minutes due to fog and bad light. The game was evenly poised at 0-0 at the time and that was declared as the final score.
Referee: M Halsey
Assistant Referee: D Bryan
Assistant Referee: M McDonough
Fourth Official: G Ward
Tickets for this game have sold out. To buy tickets for other forthcoming games, click here.
Our betting partner, Paddy Power, are offering some great odds on Saturday's game. Here's our pick of the best:
Draw half-time/Everton full-time: 9/2
Steven Pienaar to score first: 11/1
Darron Gibson to score first and Everton win 2-0: 80/1
Everton to win and Leon Osman to score at any time: 7/1