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Everton face Stoke on the opening day of the Premier League season and few would have predicted that this would be the Everton line up at the end of last season. With incomings and outgoings including big names, it will be fascinating to see what Everton can achieve this season.
The biggest change for them has been in attack where Romelu Lukaku has left the club, replaced by a returning Wayne Rooney, who is sure to quickly return to the good books of most fans. He is a key player for Everton this season and back playing football where he is happy may make the difference. Lukaku will be a big loss of course, but Everton have built a team with the money they have brought in, and they will look to spread around the goals more evenly. Having said that, early goals from Rooney would be the fairytale start to he second spell at Everton.
Stoke come here with a very similar team to the one that came 13th last season, in the middle of what was a very tight Premier League table. They have lost the creativity of Marko Arnautovic who has left for West Ham, new signing Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting will be tasked with replacing that although I suspect he may take a little time to get used to the Premier League.
Everton have the advantage of playing two competitive games already this season, they have featured in the Europa League where they won 2-0 on aggregate against Ruzomberok, although many would have expected to see more from them in those games.
Despite all the summer changes, I think Everton can get off to a good start here at home to Stoke and although the margain may only be small, I think Everton will have enough talent in their new look squad to beat Stoke.
Back the win to nil at 13/8