Friday 15 December 2017

Stoke expose Everton limitations

Everton 0
Stoke City 1

Chris Bascombe

David Moyes said he was worried Everton had only "put on a bit of make-up" when assessing their recent revival.

As their progress was halted by Stoke here, the blemishes he feared were being hidden by a touch of slap were cruelly exposed.

There will come a time when Moyes assesses the debris of such a result and decides there is little merit in saying anything new. He can already recite from a well-rehearsed script.

"You know what I was saying last season, and the year before, and season before that? It's the same again," is the paraphrased version of his post-match assessment, acknowledging Everton's fate as a side perennially on the verge of being outstanding, but with an inability to make the final progression until investment arrives.

"We huffed and puffed. We didn't lose the game because of our defending and didn't do an awful lot wrong," said Moyes.

A subdued opening to the game was halted when Stoke scored from the first attack of the game after 15 minutes. Matthew Etherington's corner was partially cleared as far as Dean Whitehead, whose volley was deflected in by Robert Huth from six yards.

Everton's response was led by Marouane Fellaini, but only Stoke goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen's preference for punching crosses offered the home side hope. Sorensen was forced off in the second half with concussion, but the visitors' defence remained unflustered.

Stoke have become a club who are the epitome of steady progress. Everton, in contrast, are starting to look incapable of fulfilling their aspirations. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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