Preview: Everton v Stoke City

A new-look Everton will be hoping to get their Premier League campaign up and running when they play host to Stoke City on Saturday.

The Toffees have strengthened heavily in the transfer market so far, adding the likes of Michael Keane, Jordan Pickford, Davy Klaassen, and Wayne Rooney to their team, and will be eager to get them off to a strong start.

Ronald Koeman's charges were unbeaten in their two pre-season friendlies, but drew both against Genk and Sevilla. However, they beat Ruzomberok home and away in their Europa League play-offs.

When asked about the opening league tie with Stoke, Koeman told his pre-match press conference: “We know it is a tough start but it is about 38 games. 

"In the Premier League, if you think you have an easy start you will pay for it. If you think it is really tough then, maybe, it is different."

The hosts will be without the services of the injured Seamus Coleman, Yannick Bolasie, and Ramiro Funes Mori, while Ross Barkley and James McCarthy are back in training but unavailable.

Meanwhile, the Potters have been relatively quiet in terms of spending money in the market, but have brought in Chelsea's Kurt Zouma on loan and Darren Fletcher on a free transfer from West Brom.

Mark Hughes' side have another tough start to their season, as they prepare to take on Everton before facing Arsenal, Manchester United, and Chelsea in their first six games.

Hughes told his pre-match press conference: "You always want a good start. Our fixture list is probably one of the hardest just like in previous seasons. The key is to begin better."

The away side are still without Ibrahim Afellay and Stephen Ireland due to long-term injuries, but Zouma is expected to make his debut for the club.

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