Competition: Premier League – Sunderland vs. Everton
Venue: Stadium of Light – Wednesday, May 11 – 19:45 BST (14:45 ET)
Match Odds: Sunderland 8/11 – Draw 14/5 – Everton 18/5
The Black Cats look to be in a strong position to survive relegation following Saturday’s spirited 3-2 win over Chelsea at the Stadium of Light. They are one place and one point outside the bottom three but have this game in hand over Newcastle, which could prove crucial should they win.
Three points would relegate both Newcastle and Norwich before the final day of the campaign and so there will be plenty of eyes on this clash.
Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce has kept his side well organised and ensured they are tough to beat. They have only lost one of their last nine and are unbeaten in four coming into this one.
Everton, on the other hand, are struggling to give their fans anything to cheer about. They might not be in a relegation battle but Roberto Martinez is under immense pressure from the Toffees faithful, who are far from pleased with their season.
They sit in 12th place heading into the game and look set for their worst league finish in 12 years if they fail to climb a single place over the final five days of the season.
One win in nine league outings is an abysmal return of points for a side as good as Everton and a summer of rebuilding looks certain to take place, with or without Martinez at the helm.
The Toffees lost 3-1 to Leicester on Saturday evening and now face a tough trip to a Sunderland side desperate for all three points.
The reverse fixture saw Everton run out 6-2 winners in a pulsating game at Goodison Park in November. Sunderland have only won one of their last ten league games at home to the Toffees (D4 L5) and will need that record to change if they are to secure their Premier League status for next term.
Sunderland have just one injury to worry about heading into Wednesday’s game as full-back Billy Jones remains out with a hip problem. Sam Allardyce has no other concerns and an unchanged side is expected to be named from the team that beat Chelsea on Saturday.
Everton boss Roberto Martinez has a number of injuries to deal with heading into their penultimate game of the season. Seamus Coleman, Tyias Browning, Phil Jagielka, Tony Hibbert and Gerard Deulofeu all remain sidelined, while Gareth Barry is a doubt. Ramiro Funes Mori will return from suspension and may replace Matthew Pennington at the heart of defence.
Sunderland’s last five: L/W/D/D/W
Everton’s last five: D/D/L/W/L
Key Stat: Contrast – Sunderland have only lost one of their last nine Premier League games, while Everton have recorded just one win in their last nine.
Key Player: Jermain Defoe – The Sunderland goal machine has scored the goals that should keep Sunderland in the top flight. He has three in his last four and has scored against Everton as a Sunderland player in the last two meetings.
Sunderland 1-0 Everton – This will more than likely be a very cagey game as Sunderland will undoubtedly have to control their nerves ahead of what is an enormous game for the football club. They have been solid at the back in recent weeks, keeping clean sheets in three of their last six and will need another one here to put them in a strong position to go and win the game. Everton just want the season to end and will likely suffer defeat here with little left to play for now. Sunderland to win and end the battle for relegation ahead of the final day.