What The Papers Say - 22 December

The views on this page are taken from the local and national media and do not necessarily reflect the views of Everton.

Friday's newspapers carry a breadth of Everton news. The Daily Star has picked up on Cuco Martina's interview with evertontv this week, when the Toffees full-back praised manager Sam Allardyce for helping the team rediscover its defensive resilience.

In the same paper, former Arsenal and England attacker Paul Merson says Everton are "due a slip up" under Allardyce and tips Chelsea to emerge victorious from the sides' Premier League meeting at Goodison Park on Saturday.

The Liverpool Echo, however, points out that the Stamford Bridge club should "beware the curse of the champions" at Goodison, with Everton unbeaten by the reigning  English title holders on their own turf since 2011.

The Echo also features a report suggesting winger Kevin Mirallas could be set for a January Goodison exit, with Turkish outfit Galatasaray and the 30-year-old's former club, Greek champions Olympiakos, credited with an interest in the Belgian.

Another player linked with a move away from the Toffees is 23-year-old Matthew Pennington, who is touted for a permanent new-year switch to Leeds United, where the defender is currently on a season-long loan.

There is also plenty of speculation about potential incomings. The Daily Express claims Sunderland defender Lamine Kone is on Blues' manager Allardyce's radar.

According to the Mail, though, Allardyce has a different centre-back in mind, with the paper suggesting a potential bid for Crystal Palace's former West Ham defender James Tomkins is in the offing.

The Daily Mirror previews Chelsea's visit to Goodison this weekend and says Belgian forward Eden Hazard will play in a 'false 9' position for Antonio Conte's team, in the absence of suspended striker Alvaro Morata.

The visit by Everton's players and management staff to Alder Hey Children's Hospital on Thursday is also widely covered in today's local and national publications.

The Daily Mail praises the Club for "spreading festive cheer", while the Liverpool Echo reports that Yannick Bolasie and Ross Barkley, both recently sidelined by injury, were among the Toffees contingent spending time with patients at Alder Hey.

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