The blizzard like weather didn’t put Everton off as they grabbed a rare away victory to just about edge past a resilient Stoke.
Here are five things we learned:
Everton finally win away
With Everton holding an away record of five straight defeats and their last win on the road coming on the 13th December against Newcastle, Stoke may have been fairly satisfied with having to face the Blues at home in a crucial match.
In those last five away games Everton succumbed to other struggling sides such as Watford and Bournemouth. However, after the sending off to Charlie Adam, Everton were allowed more control over the game and eventually the extra man showed.
The win now means Everton sit comfortably in ninth on 40 points, 12 points from relegation and just three off Europe. With the pressure off the Blues and in the words of Sam Allardyce, “Everton can now start to prepare for next season”.
Everton finally have their Lukaku replacement
One of Everton’s biggest mistakes of the summer transfer window, and something which arguably contributed to Ronald Koeman getting sacked, was that Everton didn’t replace their main man Romelu Lukaku.
Then after signing the Turk, Allardyce refused to put him in the team with excuses such as the weather being too cold for him. Well if Saturday proved anything, it showed this certainly isn’t the case, with Tosun putting in his best Everton performance yet in blizzard like conditions at the Bet365 stadium.
Since being put into the starting 11, Tosun has begun to flourish and has now scored four goals in his last three games, with his two against Stoke earning Everton a crucial three points on the road. In fact, it was the first time an Everton forward has scored a brace away from home since, you guessed it, Romelu Lukaku in 2016.
Stoke in a tricky spot
Heading into the game against Everton, Stoke manager Paul Lambert said in his program notes that the game was a six pointer and a must win. With Stoke failing to get that win it now leaves them in a dangerous position.
It was Stoke’s chance to put the pressure on their rivals with both Southampton and West Ham not playing this weekend, however, this result now means Stoke will now be relying on other teams slipping up.
With fellow strugglers Crystal Palace picking up a vital three points and Stoke currently winless in their last seven games, picking up just one win under Paul Lambert, Stoke’s Premier League survival is becoming perilous. Results need to change for the Potters.
The run goes on for Berahino
There is a long list of failed English players who were meant to be the next ‘big thing’ and sadly, Saido Berahino looks like he may be the latest addition.
When at West Brom, Berahino looked like he was destined to push on and be leading the line for one of the big top six teams. However, after this game, the Burundi born forward continues his run of not scoring a goal for two years.
Given a rare chance by Paul Lambert, Berahino didn’t take it and offered very little to the Stoke attack, however, with Choupo-Moting picking up an injury in the game maybe Berahino will once more get his chance to try and end his barren run.
Was that a red card?
There’s no doubt that Charlie Adam’s tackle in the 30th minute was a game changing moment, Stoke were well into the game at this point and Adam was a definite threat with the quality he offered with his long-range passes.
After being sent off, the game changed as Everton began to control a lot more of the possession and were allowed to play at their own pace as Stoke began to sit deeper. The extra man for Everton also showed at the end as Stoke looked vulnerable to numerous counter-attacks.
The big question however was whether the tackle was a red card? A lot of people are split with many arguing that a yellow card would have been sufficient enough. What is for sure though, is that Stoke will miss Adam for the next three games against Arsenal, Tottenham and more importantly West Ham.
A huge miss at w crucial time of the season.