MATCH REPORT: Everton 1 Stoke City 0

Everton opened their 2017/18 Premier League campaign with a 1-0 victory over Stoke City. at Goodison Park.

Wayne Rooney marked his return to Goodison with a dream goal, heading home a cross from Dominic Calvert-Lewin ending a move that the former Manchester United striker started himself.

Everton’s goal was the best move of the game in which both teams looked rusty from their pre-seasons breaks. Everton were the better of the two teams creating more goal scoring opportunities than Stoke who struggled to break down Everton’s back three.

Stoke failed to put a shot on target until after the 80th minute when Switzerland international Xherdan Shaqiri forced Jordan Pickford to scramble across his line and  push a shot round the post.

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Pickford’s performance looked like the real deal for Everton and potentially England. Stoke, however, failed to pose an attacking threat and resorted to a long ball tactic, targeting substitute Peter Crouch towards the end of the game.

Everton’s Wayne Rooney capped his return in a blue shirt with a goal that won Everton the game and the three points that Everton fans will have wanted to mark  the start of the Toffee’s campaign. His emotional celebration in front of a packed home ground highlighted how much the goal meant to the 31 year old.

The Liverpool born striker put in a man of the match performance calling his goal a “special moment” and saw him contribute to the Blue’s defensive efforts as well as their attack.  Rooney will look to continue the season with strong performances in an attempt to regain his place in Gareth Southgate’s England squad.

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Stoke’s performance lacked the creative guile to break down an Everton defence that stood resolute to a late dominant spell that saw Stoke create their closest chance in the 90 minutes. However, a second half performance seemed one dimensional and Stoke will look to acquire their first win of the season against Arsenal next week.

Whilst the home team looked out of shape, despite playing two Europa League qualifiers before the season’s opening game, they managed to take the three points. Koeman will now look to their visit to Premier League favourites Manchester City at the Ethihad Stadium next Monday. 

Written by Dom Holt.

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