Stoke City 1-1 Everton Post-Match Analysis: Everton's unbeaten run continues as the Koeman revival goes on

Stoke City 1-1 Everton Post-Match Analysis: Everton's unbeaten run continues as the Koeman revival goes on

Despite points being shared in last night's fixture, Everton will take positives as it extended their recent unbeaten run to six.

Ollie Haggart

Stoke were held to a draw at the Bet 365 stadium last night as on-form Everton snatched a late first half goal to cancel out Peter Crouch's 100th goal in the Premier League.

Stoke looked the stronger team as the game got underway, with the Potters creating their first real chance in the 11th minute, one in which Peter Crouch, one goal away from his Premier League century, slotted away confidently.

The home side's relentless pressure was not enough however, as Seamus Coleman's testing cross-come-shot deflected off Ryan Shawcross' leg and into his own net.

The Bet 365 stadium is a renowned ground for away teams - ignoring form - to drop points, and it proved again as Ronald Koeman's now six game unbeaten Everton side could not do it on a windy Wednesday night in Stoke.

Top six still in reach for Everton

​Despite only managing to take one point from Wednesday night's fixture, the Toffees did not lose ground on sixth placed Manchester United, as they drew to strugglers Hull City.

Going into the game having closed the gap between themselves and United by four points, Everton's fans and team have had hope restored that their team can reach the heights they did in 2013 when Koeman's successor Roberto Martinez lead them to Europe.

With the team placed one better than themselves having drawn their past three games, Everton have not only been able to add to their points tally, but to their confidence levels going into the next few fixtures, which Koeman will believe are all winnable.

In Everton's next six fixtures, only Tottenham are placed above them in the table, with fixtures against bottom of the league Hull and one better Sunderland coming in between. All in all, the remainder of February and March should be positive for the Toffees as they can realistically close the gap on Manchester United even more.

Koeman to have midfield selection struggle

Morgan Scheiderlin was awarded his first start for Everton against Stoke | Credit: Getty Images / Chris Brunskill
Morgan Scheiderlin was awarded his first start for Everton against Stoke | Credit: Getty Images / Chris Brunskill

Although the game, as expected, was closely contested, positives can be drawn from the visitors performance; Morgan Scheiderlin - despite making the odd loose ball - showed why he will be a fundamental part for Everton's future plans. The Frenchman lasted the full 90 minutes, and made a total of 71 complete passes, 93 touches, nine successful duels, with three interceptions and clearances respectively.

Yet this makes the selection process in the centre of the pitch incredibly difficult for Everton's manager - a pleasant difficulty nonetheless - due to the abundance of talent in this position.

Youth Academy graduate Tom Davies has attracted the plaudits attention in his past three starts for the blues, showing composure and talent far beyond his 18 years-of-age. Idrissa Gueye has been the anchor-man in Everton's midfield since signing in the Summer, yet his international duties with Senegal in the African Cup of Nations may have come at a poor time as he will struggle to make it back into the first team.

On top of this, Gareth Barry continues to soldier on at the age of 35, whilst James McCarthy and Muhamed Besic are both gradually returning from long-term injuries, making the midfield double pivot selection process extremely tough for Koeman.

​​Youngsters shine once again

As previously mentioned, Tom Davies has become a role model for all academy players at Everton, with his almost flawless displays in recent weeks.

However, it is not only the young Scouser who has broken through into the Everton first team, a team that has so regularly been commended for its development of youth players; Mason Holgate and January arrival Ademola Lookman are both making the first 18 players.

Holgate was signed by Roberto Martinez in 2015, but made his Premier League debut in August against Tottenham Hotspur under new manager Ronald Koeman. The Doncaster born defender has been in-and-out of the starting 11, but his recent self-assured, solid defensive displays have ensured him a place in a back three alongside Ashley Williams and Ramiro Funes Mori.

Lookman, however, was not a product of Everton's exemplary youth academy, but was rather signed from Charlton this January. At only 19 years-of-age, the striker already has one goal under his belt as he scored four minutes into his debut against Manchester City.

It is this confidence in young players that will attract many to Everton. Davies, Holgate and Lookman alike will all serve as role models to other youngsters - showing that they can be rewarded with first team game-time if they are to put in the effort.