Two sides who desperately need three points – for very different reasons – will lock horns at the Stadium of Light on Saturday. Sunderland remain plagued by the prospect of relegation, despite last week’s resounding victory over bitter rivals Newcastle United, while Everton still harbour dreams of a top-four finish.
Paolo Di Canio must now conceive another master plan as his side welcome an in-form Everton side to the north-east. The charismatic Italian will be taking charge of his first home game since arriving at the club and will be desperate to make his mark on the Sunderland faithful. But Saturday’s game will be a tall order for the Black Cats, who have never beaten an Everton side managed by David Moyes.
The Toffees’ recent resurgence has reignited belief that the squad can achieve a Champions League qualification berth. Despite Tuesday’s goalless draw at The Emirates halting their progress, Moyes’ men have reeled in the top four over recent weeks, but know defeat will all-but end their Champions League aspirations.
KICK-OFF: Saturday, 3pm
PAST THREE MEETINGS…
Everton 2 (Fellaini, Jelavic) Sunderland 1 (Johnson), Premier League, November 2012
Everton 4 (Gueye, Pienaar, Osman, Colback og) Sunderland 0, Premier League, April 2012
Sunderland 0 Everton 2 (Jelavic, Vaughan og), FA Cup, March 2012
The Toffees are unbeaten in their last six Premier League games.
Sunderland have not beaten Everton in 16 attempts, since David Moyed took over in 2002.
The Black Cats have not won at home since January.
Three of the last four matches between Sunderland and Everton at the Stadium of Light have ended in a draw.
Sunderland to win: 3.1
Everton to win: 3.3
Everton 7 Sunderland 1, Premier League, November 2007
Yakubu Aiyegbeni and Tim Cahill each scored a brace as Everton thrashed Sunderland at Goodison Park. Other scorers included Steven Pienaar, Andrew Johnson and Leon Osman, who completed the rout, after Dwight Yorke had netted the Black Cats solitary goal on the stroke of half-time. The result saw Roy Keane’s men drop into the relegation zone, but they eventually saw off the threat of relegation, finishing 15th.
TV: Highlights on BBC1 at 10.30pm.