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Stoke City (H) Fri 26 Dec 2014, 15:00, Barclays Premier League

Pienaar In For Osman At Villa

by Matthew Gamble @efc_mattgamble

Steven Pienaar replaces Leon Osman in Everton's starting line-up at Aston Villa.

The return of the South African comes after his goalscoring cameo as a substitute last weekend and is the Blues' only change from the win over Hull.

It means Roberto Martinez names his regular back four with skipper Phil Jagielka in the centre alongside Sylvain Distin.

Gareth Barry and James McCarthy will patrol the middle of midfield with Ross Barkley just off Romelu Lukaku up front.

Mirallas and Pienaar will operate on the flanks but there is no place for Arouna Kone and Darron Gibson is a long term absentee as he recovers from knee surgery.

John Heitinga is unavailable because of a soft tissue injury.

For Villa, Christian Benteke is handed a start after returning from injury last weekend.

Everton: Howard, Baines, Coleman, Jagielka, Distin, McCarthy, Barry, Barkley, Mirallas, Pienaar, Lukaku. Subs: Joel, Jelavic, Oviedo. Deulofeu, Naismith, Osman, Stones.

Aston Villa: Guzan, Bacuna, Vlaar, Baker, Westwood, Weimann, Luna, Delph, Agbonlahor, Benteke, Tonev. Steer, Clark, El Ahmadi, Helenius, Sylla, Kozak, Lowton. 

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