Everton looked quite stable during the previous season and fully deserved their seventh position and Europa League exit, as the team lost their form towards the end of the season while they were even competitive in a Champions League spot battle during some part of the season.
The side has brought many quality players in during the transfer period and had some really good results during friendlies, making the start of the season positive already. They’ve already played in Europa League qualifiers winning twice over Slovakian side Ruzomberok, both times with narrow 1:0 victory. In the last friendly match the side drew 2:2 against Sevilla last Sunday evening.
They were very busy regarding tranfers around the club, as the club brought goalkeeper Jordan Pickford from Sunderland, central back Michael Keane from Burnley, right back Cuco Martina from Southampton, offensive players Davy Klaassen (Ajax), Henry Onyekuru (Eupen), strikers Sandro Ramirez from Malaga and Wayne Rooney from Manchester United. Romelu Lukaku left the club leaving for Manchester United, while the club have also left Gerrard Deulofeu (Barcelona), Aiden McGeady (Sunderland), Tom Cleverly (Waterford) and Arouna Kone (Sivasspor).
Stoke, on the other side, coudn’t do much more in previous season but to safely avoid the relegation battle way before it’s end and it seems that such outcome would be actually a very positive one for them in case it happens this season. The team lost some key players and didn’t being real re-inforcments, so it’s yet to be seen how will their best IX look like at the end of August.
The side didn’t impress during the friendly matches, as they won at start over Xamax and later on against Amiens, Bolton and Leipzig, however lost to Monaco, Sheffield United, Crewe and St Pauli, as it was obvious that their coach changes a lot and tests a lot of players and formations in order to find the best ones.
It was quite slow transfer period for them, as they signed central defender Bruno Martins Indi from Porto for 7.7M, and only three more free tranfer players: left back Josh Tymon (Hull), midfielder Darren Fletcher (WBA) and forward Eric Maxim Choupo-Motig (Schalke). Forward Marko Arnautovic left the club for West Ham, offensive Jonathan Walters went to Burnley, defensive midfielder Glenn Whelan to Aston Villa and right back Phil Bardsley gone to Burnley. Overall impression is that they will reallly need at least couple of more signigs before the end of August.
Everton fans will have really huge expectations this season and I’m quite positive that the players will be able to start the season with a three pointer. Stoke didn’t make much moves this transfer window and having in mind that Everton already has some competitive games this Summer, I can’t see many chances for visiting side to stay undefeated.