A huge game for both teams, with each needing a win for very different reasons. Sunderland are bottom of the table, and even if the win both their games in hand they won’t be out of the relegation zone. Gus Poyet’s men suffered a thrashing against Spurs on Monday night and need to bounce back with a win if they are to have any chance of beating the drop.
Everton on the other hand are bang in form, having seen off fourth-place rivals Arsenal 3-0 at Goodison Park last week. If they win all their remaining games they’ll be playing Champions League football for the first time next year, and Roberto Martinez’s side will need no more motivation than that.
Form suggests that the visitors, who have won six League games in a row, ought to have enough against the Black Cats, who haven’t won in eight in all competitions, but Sunderland can take heart from the fact that they have won both their two previous meetings with the Toffees by a goal to nil.
KICK-OFF: Saturday, 3.07pm
PAST THREE MEETINGS…
Everton 0 Sunderland 1 (Ki Sung-Yueng, pen), Premier League, December 2013
Sunderland 1 (Sessegnon) Everton 0, Premier League, April 2013
Everton 2 (Fellaini, Jelavic) Sunderland 1 (Johnson), Premier League, November 2012
It is now over two months since Sunderland last won in the league, their last victory coming against rivals at St James’ Park on Newcastle February 1st
Sunderland’s total of twelve points earned at home this season is the worst in the league – their away form would see them sitting 14th
Sunderland have won more games in domestic cups this season than they have in the league
Everton current run of six league wins in a row is their best since the Premier League began.
Everton have scored three goals in each of their last four matches – if they repeat the feat against Sunderland they will match the number of goals scored in the whole of last season, with five games to go
Steven Naismith has scored in each of Everton’s last two games – he hasn’t scored in three consecutive games since December 2006, when he was playing for Kilmarnock
Sunderland to win: 4.8
Everton to win: 1.75
CLASSIC MATCH – Sunderland 3-0 Everton, May 3 1997
Sunderland played their last ever match at Roker Park with the spectre of relegation hanging over them, and hosted Everton, who were in 12th at the time and all but safe (other results would confirm their top flight status that day). Chris Waddle scored his first goal back at Sunderland and in a match that was closer than the score-line suggests, the Black Cats said goodbye to their old stadium in style, climbing out of the relegation zone in the process. It was not enough to keep them up though, defeat to Wimbledon the next week sending them into the second tier.
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