Everton vs Stoke City Tips and Odds - EPL Matchweek 1

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McCarthy sat out Everton's pre-season finale with Sevilla on Sunday, with Everton manager Ronald Koeman telling reporters after the game that he was held out due to a knee injury.

Everton are ready to do their talking on the pitch after a summer in which they have made the size of their ambitions clear. "If all the big ones are really strong and doing what they need, it is very hard".

"I don't say impossible, but 25 goals is a lot and we have to find other ways and productivity from other players and we like to bring in other players in".

The Toffees' only success in their opening match in the last nine Premier League seasons came in 2012-13, beating Manchester United 1-0 at Goodison Park.

Koeman said: "We know it is a tough start but it is all about, in 38 games, getting the points".

"If there is a club thinking we can wait until the last day and we put some money on the table and we get Ross Barkley, sorry, you do not get Ross Barkley".

Lawrenson added that he is looking to see a better start to the season for Stoke having struggled early on last season, but he isn't seriously anxious about their fortunes this season.

The striker looks to have the physicality and keen eye for goal to thrive in the Premier League, but does he have the right mentality?

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Only once in Mark Hughes' four seasons as boss have the Potters got three points on the board in August and that was in 2013.

"My understanding is it's very close", said Hughes. We've just got to make sure we don't get wrapped up in that.

"Everton have brought good players in but lost key players too, like (Romelu) Lukaku".

Veteran Stoke striker Peter Crouch has been involved in 10 goals against Everton in his Premier League career (six goals, four assists) - only against Aston Villa (11) has he been involved in more.

Hughes is under no illusions that it will be a hard early test for his team.

But the manager concedes that, for all Everton's shrewd business, it may only allow them to stand still, at least in terms of league position. Koeman has already concluded Wayne Rooney's days as a striker are over and he sees the returning Evertonian in a deeper role.

"If you look to the team this Saturday and the bench you cannot compare it to the big six. We are looking forward to getting started".

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