Everton v Stoke: Toffees well fancied for a tight 1-0 win

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Mark Hughes may have kitted Stoke out in a new wardrobe – they are yet to score a headed goal in the league this term while registering the joint fewest headed efforts on target – but they don’t necessarily look any better for it and a trip to Goodison Park isn’t about to upgrade their Primark dress-code.

In the five seasons spent with Tony Pulis in the top-flight, the Potters finished no higher than 11th and no lower than 14th. Now 12 games into the Hughes era, the Britannia boys are nestled quite comfortably in familiar surroundings, six places off the foot of the table.

Despite an obvious and commendable effort to play more aesthetically pleasing football, Ryan Shawcross and co have won just once in the last nine and only once on the league road all season.

A trip to see what a successful new era looks like over on Merseyside may be of benefit to the Welsh manager, but is unlikely to reap much reward, result-wise, as Roberto Martinez has continued Everton’s strong form at home.

The Toffees have only lost one top-flight outing at their own stadium in the last 29, winning 19 of those and are currently unbeaten in five games, home or away. Just to add to the theory that Everton will prevail here is the fact that they haven’t lost a match against bottom-half teams this season, while Stoke haven’t beaten a side from the upper half.

Don’t expect a flurry of goals though, all of the last eight clashes between these two have contained fewer than 2.5, while all of the last three at Goodison finished 1-0, two in the hosts’ favour.

A third 1-0 victory for Martinez’s side in four meetings there is available with Ladbrokes at 11/2, while a safer, less value-rich option is for Everton to win a match that contains less than 2.5 goals at 13/5.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.