Premier League Preview and Prediction: Sunderland vs Everton

Competition: Premier League – Sunderland vs. Everton

Venue: Stadium of Light – Monday, September 12 – 20:00 BST (15:00 ET)

Match Odds: Sunderland 12/5 – Draw 12/5 – Everton 11/10

Match Preview

Sunderland host Everton in this week’s Monday Night Football clash at the Stadium of Light, with the Black Cats desperate for a win after another slow start to the season.

David Moyes will need to rally his troops to try and beat the club he managed for 11 years and their 1-1 draw at Southampton two weeks ago should inspire some confidence.

Sunderland have scored in every game so far this term, but their only home game ended in a very disappointing 2-1 defeat to local rivals Middlesbrough. A much better display is needed here.

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They will be confident of getting a result against the Toffees here, given the fact they’ve only lost one of their last seven at home to Everton in the top flight.

Ronald Koeman has started life on Merseyside well, picking up seven points from their opening three games. They come into Monday’s game off the back of the 1-0 home win against Stoke and will be looking for three more points here.

The Toffees faithful are not best pleased about their transfer business this summer but they now need to focus solely on picking up results. They may have lost John Stones, but keeping Ross Barkley and Romelu Lukaku is a huge boost.

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Koeman could become the first Everton manager since 1919 to win his first two away games in charge, with Thomas McIntosh the last to do so 97 years ago.

Last year’s meeting at the Stadium of Light ended 3-0 to Sunderland, with Everton winning the reverse fixture 6-2, so another goal fest could be on the cards here.

Team News

Sunderland’s record signing Didier N’Dong is in line to make his debut but may have to come off the bench after playing 90 minutes for Gabon on Tuesday. Jan Kirchhoff is available for David Moyes for the first time this season, while Seb Larsson, Vito Mannone, Fabio Borini and Billy Jones are all out. Lee Cattermole is back in training and may start.

Everton could start with Seamus Coleman for the first time this season, with the Irish fullback fit again. Tom Cleverley and Darron Gibson are doubts, with James McCarthy, Tyias Browning, Matthew Pennington and Muhamed Besic all sidelined. Deadline day loan signing Enner Valencia is set to be in the squad.

Key Points

Sunderland’s form: L/L/D

Everton’s form: D/W/W

Key Stat: Sunderland have not won a Premier League game in the months of August or September for four years, losing 13 of the 22 games in these months since a win over Wigan in 2012.

Key Player: Jermain Defoe – The Sunderland striker has already scored twice this season and is the home team’s biggest goal threat. He has five goals against Everton in the Premier League – all of which have come at Goodison Park – and will expect to add to his tally here if the hosts are to get anything out of the contest.

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Score Prediction

Sunderland 1-1 Everton – There is little to choose between these sides ahead of Monday night’s clash but the home side will setup to avoid a second home defeat of the season against an attack-minded Everton team. Both look set to score, though they could play out a draw, on what could be a nervous encounter.

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Premier League Preview and Prediction: Sunderland vs Everton

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

Match Preview

Sunderland face Everton on Wednesday night in a pivotal Premier League clash for the home side, who can secure their safety with three points here ahead of the final weekend.

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.

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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.

Team News

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.

Key Points

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.

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Score Prediction

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.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Sunderland vs Chelsea

Competition: Premier League – Sunderland vs. Chelsea

Venue: Stadium of Light – Saturday, May 7 – 15:00 BST (10:00 ET) 

Match Odds: Sunderland 9/5 – Draw 5/2 – Chelsea 7/5

Match Preview

Sunderland welcome Chelsea to the Stadium of Light on Saturday afternoon in a game which could play a huge part in the battle to avoid relegation from the Premier League.

The Black Cats have put together a solid run of form which has seen them lose just once in their last eight in their efforts to avoid the drop. They sit one point outside the relegation zone with a far better goal difference and a game in hand on rivals Newcastle in 17th.

Sam Allardyce has steadied the club and given them a great chance of survival but there is still plenty of work to be done. His side come into this tie off the back of their 1-1 draw against Stoke.

Sunderland lost 3-1 in the earlier meeting between the sides this season but will be expected to be a tougher task for Chelsea this time around.

Last seasons meeting between at the Stadium of Light ended 0-0. A draw would be a solid result and give Sunderland confidence heading into their game in hand in midweek.

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Chelsea come into this tie battered and bruised from their 2-2 home draw against Spurs, which is being referred to as the ‘Battle of the Bridge’ after an intensely entertaining London Derby.

Guus Hiddink’s side came back from 2-0 down to earn a draw and showed grit and determination which has been missing on the whole from Chelsea for the majority of the season.

Chelsea players and fans alike will be happy to see the back of this season and their pitiful attempt to defend the title. They will be looking to finish the campaign in the strongest form possible.

The Blues will be looking ahead to next season and the pressure will be far less intense for them than Sunderland in this tie, which may just play into the home sides hands.

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Team News

Sunderland have just one injury concern heading into this tie as Billy Jones looks a doubt.

Chelsea look likely to without two players through injury as Kurt Zouma remains out and Loic Remy looks doubtful.

Key Points

Sunderland’s last five: D/L/W/D/D

Chelsea’s last five: W/L/L/W/D

Key Stat: Sunderland have failed to score in their last three home games in the Premier League.

Key Player: Jermain Defoe – Sunderland’s main goal threat has netted 14 goals in 31 games this season and is playing a key role in their efforts to remain in the Premier League.

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Score Prediction

Sunderland 2-1 Chelsea – Sunderland are desperately chasing three points here and their performances over the last eight games would warrant them getting a win. Chelsea’s performance is unlikely to be as intense as Monday’s and they may get caught out yet again this season if they are not fully focused.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Norwich vs Sunderland

Competition: Premier League – Norwich City vs. Sunderland 

Venue: Carrow Road – Saturday, April 16 – 12:45 BST (07:45 ET)

Match Odds: Norwich 11/8 – Draw 23/10 – Sunderland 21/10

Match Preview

Norwich host Sunderland in an enormous Premier League clash in this Saturday’s midday kickoff as the battle for survival is set to intensify further.

This is as much of a six-pointer as you can get in the top flight. A win for 17th placed Norwich City would see them go seven points clear of 18th placed Sunderland and would really ease their relegation fears ahead of the final few games.

Norwich come into the game with better form and with two wins from their last three, they are clear favourites for the three points on Saturday.

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However, those two wins were their only wins in the last 13 games in the Premier League. The lack of long-term form from the Canaries is alarming and the loss to Crystal Palace last weekend saw them thrust straight back into the relegation spotlight.

They remain four points clear of the drop heading into the weekend, although Sunderland have a game in hand. Logic would suggest that if the Canaries avoid defeat on Saturday, they will be in pole position to stay up.

Sunderland are quite the opposite as they are without a win in six. The 2-0 loss to Leicester City last weekend showed signs that things aren’t going to fall in place for the club, with Jack Rodwell’s miss from six yards proving that it’s going to be a real battle for the Black Cats to stay up.

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The game in hand may prove to be crucial, but a loss on Saturday will see morale drop significantly as well as the chances of overturning a seven-point difference with four matches to play.

A win on Saturday, however, would be the biggest result for Sunderland this season as they seek to stay up. All eyes will be on this relegation clash and you’d be a fool to miss it.

Team News

Norwich will be without Alexander Tettey (ankle) and Timm Klose (knee) through injury. Russell Martin is a doubt as he’s carrying a knock.

Sunderland have only one worry as Duncan Watmore is a doubt with an ankle injury so he’s unlikely to feature. Apart from that, Sunderland are at full strength and so Sam Allardyce will be able to field what he sees as his strongest possible team.

Key Points

Norwich’s last five: L/D/W/W/L

Sunderland’s last five: D/D/D/D/L

Key Stat: Norwich City are unbeaten in their last five matches against Sunderland in the Premier League.

Key Player: Jermain Defoe – At crucial points in games, the former England international can produce magic in a flash. If he gets the service he requires, Defoe can fire Sunderland to three points on Saturday.

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Score Prediction

Norwich 1-2 Sunderland – Norwich have won two games in the last three in the league but all their hard work will be undone should they lose come Saturday. Sunderland tested Leicester last time out and barring a few missed chances should have won the game. In this make-or-break clash, we expect the visitors to narrowly edge it.

STATS: How do Defoe and Altidore compare after swap moves?

Sunderland and Toronto swapped strikers in January in a deal that saw Jermain Defoe return to the Premier League, with Jozy Altidore returning to Major League Soccer after a seven-year European adventure.

The pair have both scored goals since crossing either side of the Atlantic and although the two leagues are different in terms of quality, the players can be compared as they both play as central strikers.

Toronto have endured a mixed start to the season with just four wins from their opening ten games but Altidore is the team’s joint top scorer with five.

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He is now out with a hamstring injury but has certainly looked better than the player who only netted one Premier League goal in 42 games for the Black Cats.

Defoe helped Sunderland to escape relegation this season with his four goals after joining in January but how do the pair compare over the last year or so?

Stats (MLS & EPL since 2014)

Appearances Goals (Per 90 Mins) Assists Chances Created (Per 90 Mins) Total Shots (Per 90 Mins)

Shot Accuracy

Jermain Defoe 

36

15 (0.45) 2 35 (1.1) 92 (2.8)

58%

Jozy Altidore 

19

5 (0.47) 0 12 (1.1) 23 (2.1)

72%

Comparing Defoe’s stats from his time with Toronto and Sunderland since March 2014 with Altidore’s from August 2014 at the start of the latest Premier League season, we can see the pair are closely matched.

Defoe has played significantly more games than Altidore, scoring ten more goals but the USMNT forward is averaging more goals per 90 minutes than the Englishman.

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Altidore also boasts better shooting accuracy than Defoe, though the former Spurs man has two assists compared to the 25-year-old American and has also recorded more shots per 90 minutes.

Both have created just over one chance per 90 minutes and their statistics are very similar.

Toronto probably got the better deal out of the trade as they acquired allocation money as well as the player, and Altidore is seven years younger.

But Defoe has clearly been more valuable to Sunderland, scoring three more league goals than Altidore managed in 25 more appearances already.

Who is the better striker – Jozy Altidore or Jermain Defoe?

Gus Poyet sacked by Sunderland, Dick Advocaat favourite to take over

Sunderland have sacked head coach Gus Poyet after a run of just one league win in 12 with the club just one point above the relegation zone with nine games to play.

Sunderland’s 4-0 home defeat at the hands of Aston Villa on Saturday was the final nail in the coffin for Poyet and that embarrassing loss stretched the team’s unbeaten run to six in the league.

“Sadly, we have not made the progress that any of us had hoped for this season,” Sunderland chairman Ellis Short said in a club statement released today.

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“We find ourselves battling, once again, at the wrong end of the table. We have therefore made the difficult decision that a change is needed.

“I would like to thank Gus for his endeavours during his time at the club, in particular last season’s ‘great escape’ and cup final appearance, which will live long in the memory of every Sunderland fan.”

Gus Poyet's record as Sunderland manager since being appointed in October 2013.

Gus Poyet’s record as Sunderland manager since being appointed in October 2013

Sunderland have won just four times in the Premier League this season and have drawn a total of 14 games this season, half of those by a 0-0 scoreline.

The club bought Jermain Defoe in January but the Black Cats have not improved enough in front of goal to steer clear of relegation troubles.

Only Aston Villa (19) have scored fewer goals than Sunderland (23) in the league this season and the Black Cats have registered the fewest number of shots in the top flight.

Dick Advocaat is the early favourite to replace Poyet at the Stadium of Light but whoever comes in will only have nine games to turn things around.

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Sunderland travel to West Ham on Saturday and it is unclear if a new head coach will be in charge for the trip to London.

Current West Ham boss Sam Allardyce is also in the running for the job at Sunderland and he is the second-favourite at this point. Michael Laudrup, Harry Redknapp and Glenn Hoddle are three other names being linked.

Did Gus Poyet deserve to get sacked? Who will be Sunderland’s next head coach?

Podcast: Altidore, Revs and Manchester United

In this week’s MLSGB Podcast Zack Walford talks to Louis East and Jamie Ives about Jozy Altidore after his fine start to life with Toronto FC, New England Revolution and where their 3-0 loss to Seattle leaves them and we also look at Manchester United and their chances on making the top four in the Premier League this season.

As always, be sure to leave your comments below or get in touch on Twitter: @MLSGB_.

Toronto’s Gilberto to join Vasco da Gama on loan until end of season – report

Toronto FC striker Gilberto has not returned to preseason training with the Reds as of yet and his absence could be extended to at least the end of the season as Brazilian club Vasco da Gama are close to securing a season-long loan deal, according to GloboEsporte.com.

Gilberto was one of the three Designated Players signed by Toronto last year as he joined the Canadian club along with Michael Bradley and Jermain Defoe.

But just one year later things look a lot different as Defoe has moved back to England and the Reds have splashed the cash again to bring in Jozy Altidore and Sebastian Giovinco, leaving them with four DPs.

Major League Soccer’s roster regulations state that a club can only have three registered DPs and so Toronto will have known that one of their four stars was going to have to leave before the start of 2015 season next month.

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Of those four players Gilberto was always going to be the one to have to move and he is now set to join Vasco da Gama, the club he has been training with for the past month, on loan for the rest of the season with a the option to buy.

The report claims the deal is set to be agreed by Tuesday and Gilberto may never return to Toronto if he can impress back in his homeland, though the Reds are unlikely to be planning on a return for the 25-year-old anyway.

The Brazilian forward will take a pay cut to join Vasco da Gama but the Rio de Janeiro based club will pay all of his wages so Toronto will have no financial attachment to the loan move.

Gilberto scored seven goals with five assists in his first season in MLS.

Jermain Defoe talks up Steven Gerrard’s MLS move after returning to Premier League

Jermain Defoe‘s time in Major League Soccer lasted less than a year with Toronto FC but the English forward believes Steven Gerrard will love his time in the United States when he moves to the LA Galaxy in the summer.

Defoe returned to the Premier League with Sunderland last week in a deal that saw Jozy Altidore join Toronto and the 32-year-old forward has been speaking about Gerrard and his upcoming move to MLS.

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“He’s gonna be in LA. I played against them not too long ago [with Toronto FC] and I spoke to Robbie Keane and he loves it there,” Defoe told Sky Sports.

“They’ve got a good team and won it [the MLS Cup] last season so I’m sure he will enjoy it. Maybe he’s had a conversation with David Beckham, who was there for many years, and he loved it too.”

Gerrard has been at Liverpool for his entire career and joined the club as a seven year old back in 1987 so playing for another team will be a major challenge for the Anfield legend.

Defoe thinks that a move to another Premier League club would have been too difficult for Gerrard and expects the 34-year-old midfielder to love his new life in Los Angeles when he moves to America in July.

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“When you look at Steven Gerrard’s situation where he’s been at Liverpool for so many years, what he’s done for that club, maybe he just feels that it’s the right time to move on and move to a different league, a different country.

“I’m sure it would have been a lot harder if he’d have moved to another Premier League team and played against Liverpool. So to go to MLS will be a different ball game and I’m sure he will enjoy it.”

How big a signing is Steven Gerrard for LA Galaxy and MLS?

Toronto FC set to confirm Sebastian Giovinco signing

Juventus playmaker Sebastian Giovinco will be confirmed as Toronto FC‘s latest signing when he’s unveiled in the next few days, according to Sportsnet.ca.

Toronto have been linked with Giovinco for some time and they have now won the race to sign the talented Italian ahead of some of Europe’s top clubs.

Arsenal, Tottenham, AS Monaco and others have all been linked but Giovinco has chosen MLS and Toronto as his next destination because he has been offered a “truckload of money”.

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The money he is being offered by Toronto is believed to be in the region of $6 million per year – an amount that will make him one of the highest earners in the league.

At 27, Giovinco is a major capture for Major League Soccer and Toronto will be hoping for big things in 2015 with a player of his calibre on their side.

Jozy Altidore replaced the outgoing Jermain Defoe on Friday, and the club currently have three Designated Players in Altidore, Michael Bradley and Gilberto.

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One of those will have to leave the club to accommodate Giovinco, and it is most likely to be Gilberto, though the Italian won’t be joining until the summer when he finishes his final season with Juventus in Serie A.

The league are currently negotiating the latest collective bargaining agreement with the players’ union and that could see the number of DP slots allowed on one team to four, but that remains to be seen.

He is in the final six months of his contract and so won’t require a transfer fee to move to Canada but if the deal is confirmed, as expected now on Monday or Tuesday, Toronto will suddenly have one of the most frightening attacking forces in MLS.

How good a signing will Sebastian Giovinco be for Toronto FC?