Sunderland vs Everton - Match Preview

One incident that scuppered an unbeaten home record for 2013 - Paul Thomas

Battle for causes at both ends of the table at the Stadium of Light

After Everton’s euphoric win over Arsenal last weekend, the Toffees are looking to continue their assault on the Gunners with a win, they will climb above them.

Sunderland will be looking to bring the Blues’ march on fourth to a halt and although they lie bottom of the table, their Premier League future is closer to being in their own hands than their position suggests. The Black Cats have two games in hand on the three teams above them and are seven points from safety but with crushing defeats like the one on Monday night at White Hart Lane mean that Gus Poyet’s side need to start winning sooner rather than later, with tomorrow’s fixture in mind.

TEAM NEWS

Sunderland will be without striker Steven Fletcher, who is thought to be out for the remainder of the season with an ankle injury. The Black Cats also are without Keiren Westwood with a shoulder injury.

For the visitors, skipper Phil Jagielka is expected to return next week for the encounter with Manchester United but he is not fit enough to make the squad for tomorrow’s trip, with his hamstring injury. Leon Osman is a doubt after the eye wound he suffered in the opening minutes of last week’s win over Arsenal. The Toffees will still be without Steven Pienaar, Lacina Troare, Arouna Kone and Darron Gibson.

PROVISIONAL SQUADS

Sunderland

Goalkeepers: Mannone and Ustari.

Defenders: Bardsley, Brown, Celustka, Cuellar, O’Shea, Roberge and Vergini.

Midfielders: Ba, Bridcutt, Cattermole, Colback, Gardner, Giaccherini, Johnson and Ki.

Forwards: Altidore, Borini, Mavrias, Scocco and Wickham.

Everton

Goalkeepers: Howard and Robles

Defenders: Alcaraz, Baines, Browning, Coleman, Distin, Garbutt and Stones.

Midfielders: Barkley, Barry, Deulofeu, McCarthy, McGeady, Mirallas and Osman.

Forwards: Lukaku and Naismith.

MATCH FACTS

Head-to-head

Sunderland went 16 consecutive games without beating the Toffees in the league, but they have won the last two; both 1-0.

Gareth Barry has scored four against Sunderland in the league and hasn’t scored more against any other side.

Sunderland have scored just two second half goals against Everton in their previous 18 Premier League games.

Sunderland

The Black Cats have used the more substitutes than any other side in the first half in games this season, with 17.

Poyet’s side have won fewer points at home than they have away, one of only three teams to do so in the Premier League this season.

Apart from Adam Johnson, no Sunderland player has been involved in more than four goals in the Premier League this season. The English winger has scored eight and assisted four.

Everton

The Blues are one win away from surpassing their best ever Premier League points tally; which is 65 points in the 2007-08 season.

Only Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge have been more valuable to their clubs in respect of Premier League goals winning points, than Romelu Lukaku. From Lukaku’s 13 league goals, Everton have won 12 points.

The Belgian has scored 30 Premier League goals going back to the start of 2012-13 and only Luis Suarez (52), Robin Van Persie (37) and Daniel Sturridge (31) have scored more.

Seamus Coleman has been involved in more goals than any other defender this season in the Premier League; scoring six goals and having one assist for the Toffees.

FINAL WORD

Everton have won their last six in the league and if they make it seven tomorrow away at Sunderland they will be in fourth position, level on games and two points ahead of Arsenal in fifth with five games remaining. A victory tomorrow is imperative and such a result will put the Blues in pole position in the race for Champions League qualification going into the final laps of this thrilling Premier League season.

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