Published: Sun, August 13, 2017
Sports | By Mabel Barber

It's hard to replace Lukaku, Everton Boss Koeman says

It's hard to replace Lukaku, Everton Boss Koeman says

The Toffees' only success in their opening match in the last nine Premier League seasons came in 2012-13, beating Manchester United 1-0 at Goodison Park.

McCarthy sat out Everton's pre-season finale with Sevilla on Sunday, with Everton manager Ronald Koeman telling reporters after the game that he was held out due to a knee injury.

Hughes, meanwhile, will hope that his side can spring an opening day upset and get themselves off to a better start than last season when it took them until October to register their first league win.

"Okay, I believe if we get the picture of the last players we are stronger than last season but being stronger than last season does not mean you will win against the big six because they also will be more strong than last season".

Doubts persist over the involvement of Bojan Krkic (calf) and Josh Tymon (foot) as well, but the Welshman may be able to hand debuts to the likes of Kurt Zouma and Fletcher following their summer switches to the Bet365 Stadium. "He is an important player and he is one of the team that will start this Saturday".

Everton's last four Premier League campaigns have all started with a draw, with three of those ending 2-2. "We are looking forward to getting started".

Stoke could complete the signing of Bruno Martins Indi before the game but it will not be done in time for him to feature. His last win was in 2009 as Manchester City manager.

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Rooney's return to Everton should be one of the feel-good stories of the Premier League season, with the former Manchester United captain looking to recapture the glory days.

Veteran Stoke striker Peter Crouch has been involved in 10 goals against Everton in his Premier League career (six goals, four assists) - only against Aston Villa (11) has he been involved in more.

With the benefit of Europa League football in their legs already, expect them to be flying today.

The enthusiasm of early summer has given way to anxiety at Everton.

"They've got a good side and they've spent money from letting good players go, perhaps similar to Southampton a couple of years ago".

It's what they have lost that is troubling.

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