Competition: Premier League – Everton FC vs. Sunderland AFC
Venue: Goodison Park – Saturday, May 9th – 12:45 BST (07:45 ET)
Match Odds: Everton 5/6 – Draw 5/2 – Sunderland 100/30
Mid-table Everton take on relegation threatened Sunderland in the Premier League‘s early kick off on Saturday afternoon. A win for Sunderland is vital if they want to beat the drop. The Black Cats are going to need to be at their best because Everton are not going to be rolled over easily in this one.
Everton come into the game in a confident mood, having lost only twice since early March, when they lost 2-0 to Stoke and then suffered defeat last week to Aston Villa in that 3-2 loss. Everton’s home form is somewhat impressive, having won seven this season, and they have not lost at home in the league since Boxing Day.
European football this season hasn’t done Everton many favours with league games that follow, with the Toffees falling short because of Europa League commitments hampering domestic form. Everton have won just four games after Europa League games, counting the group phase, last 32 and at the last 16 stage.Embed from Getty Images
Since the defeat to Dnipro they have lost just once, and recent results have elevated Everton up the table. At a time earlier in the season it looked as though they could’ve been embroiled in a relegation battle, so the extra rest time for the Toffees has often resulted in all three points, which is something Sunderland should be aware of.
A win could catapult Everton into the top half of the table providing Stoke fail to beat Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday afternoon.
Sunderland come into this one with after a morale-boosting victory over Southampton last week and will want another to boost their survival chances.
Dick Advocaat has been in charge for five games and although those games have seen inconsistency, with a home loss to Crystal Palace and a draw away at Stoke, the Black Cats are still optimistic they can survive once again.Embed from Getty Images
Sunderland have only won twice on the road all season and are without an away victory in eight now, with their last coming in December at Newcastle.
Things need serious addressing now and a win for them is imperative as they have trips to Arsenal and Chelsea still to come as next week’s home game against Leicester looks crucial if they are to ensure they will play in the Premier League next season.
The reverse fixture saw a 1-1 draw at the Stadium of Light with Seb Larsson and Leighton Baines getting on the scoresheet.
Everton’s injury list features some first team regulars with Bryan Oviedo out for the rest of the season after a broken metatarsal. Plus Steven Pienaar (muscular) is out until the middle of May, while Tony Hibbert (knee) and Darren Gibson (metatarsal) will not be back before the end of the season.
Sunderland also have a few casualties with John O’Shea battling concussion with no return date and on loan Inter Milan midfielder Ricky Alvarez is out for the rest of the season with a knee injury. But the good news is that Steven Fletcher and Wes Brown are due back and should be in the starting lineup and hoping to steer Sunderland clear from danger.
Everton’s last five: W/D/W/W/L
Sunderland’s last five: L/W/L/D/W
Key Stat: Roberto Martinez has only lost three times against Sunderland in the Premier League, twice as manager of Wigan Athletic and once as Everton manager.Embed from Getty Images
Key Player: Kevin Mirallas – The pacey winger has scored two in his last three and will look to continue firing in what could be his final season at Everton.
Everton 3-0 Sunderland – Everton are thriving on confidence whilst the Black Cats are looking low, although they are more than capable of taking a point. Everton’s attack will hurt the Black Cats’ vulnerable defence and compile them to more misery as their time in the top flight could be drawing to a close.