Everton vs. Stoke City  1 - 0

Article

Pulis laments Stoke defeat at Everton

31 March 2013 22:52

Tony Pulis was aggrieved that his Stoke side could not find the net against Everton despite creating a number of chances in their 1-0 defeat.

Stoke have been in poor form of late, winning only one Premier League game since the turn of the year but put in one of their better away performances this season at Goodison Park, creating a number of chances either side of Kevin Mirallas' winning goal.

"We haven't played many games where we haven't created any chances, and that was the case again today," the Welshman said.

"Obviously it is a bit of a worry, because we had more than enough chances to have got a point from the game, or even won it."

The defeat was Stoke's fifth in six matches and leaves them just four points off the relegation zone despite being within touching distance of the European places at the end of December.

"You sometimes have a run of games where these things can happen," Pulis said.

"Unfortunately for us, we are on one of those runs right now. You just have to make sure that the lads remain confident and believe in their ability.

"We have come here and played against a very good Everton side, who I have always said will challenge for a top-four spot this season, and we feel aggrieved to be leaving here with nothing."

Stoke's next match sees relegation rivals Aston Villa come to the Britannia Stadium where a win for the visitors would close the gap between the two sides to just a single point with six matches left to play.

"We need our fans behind us as much as ever for that game," Pulis added. "They make the difference for us, there is absolutely no doubt about that.

"I said the other day that our four home games will dictate things for us, and I stick by that. We aren't panicking here though; I have said all along that this will be a tough season for us.

"We need a win, and we will do everything we can to make sure that we get that against Aston Villa next weekend."

Article

Premier League preview: Everton v Stoke City

28 March 2013 10:29

Everton have renewed hope of fighting for a Champions League place, ahead of their hosting of Stoke City on Saturday.

David Moyes' men have won back-to-back league fixtures to stalk fourth-placed Tottenham by six points - and also have a game in hand on Andre Villas-Boas' men.

Arsenal sit in fifth, four points off Tottenham, but Everton will have all eyes on fourth spot - although there is another carrot of Europa League for the side that misses the top four.

They will however be missing key figures Steven Pienaar and Marouane Fellaini for the visit of Stoke - with both suspended.

Pienaar was red carded in their 2-0 victory over Manchester City - and subsequently ruled out for two games - while a 10th yellow card for the season for Belgian midfielder Fellaini saw him earn a two-match ban.

Adding injury to insult is the absence of goalkeeper Tim Howard (back) and Tony Hibbert (calf), although Phil Jagielka (ankle) should be fit to return to the matchday squad.

Tony Pulis' Stoke have next to nothing to play for in their final eight games in the league, although on closer inspection of their standing in 11th spot, they are just seven points from the drop.

Wigan - who are 18th - could feasibly be within four points of Stoke if they win their game in hand, which is why there is a little bit of pressure starting to heap on Pulis' sturdy shoulders.

Pulis has been at the Britannia Stadium since 2006, but they have been winless in four league matches and have just one goal to show for their past 360 minutes on the pitch, and it was a Jon Walters penalty.

Walters has managed to score more for his country in the meantime after he netted a brace for Ireland in their 2-2 draw with Austria in World Cup qualifying on Tuesday.

There is going to be a fair reliance on him to do so again when they travel to Goodison Park, as Cameron Jerome (one goal in 10 league matches) and Peter Crouch (one in 23) have been found wanting of late.

While their form of late spells doom and gloom for their Merseyside trip, Stoke have not lost to Everton in four - drawing the past two, preceded by two wins.

Last time at Goodison, Stoke earned a 1-0 win courtesy of a Robert Huth goal.

Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 38 +43 89
2 38 +32 78
3 38 +36 75
4 38 +35 73
5 38 +20 72
6 38 +15 63
7 38 +28 61
8 38 -4 49
9 38 -4 46
10 38 -8 46
11 38 -17 44
12 38 -10 43
13 38 -11 42
14 38 -11 41
15 38 -22 41
16 38 -23 41
17 38 -13 39
18 38 -26 36
19 38 -30 28
20 38 -30 25