On the ninth of November, Everton travel to the Stadium of Light to take on Sunderland. After the first 10 games of the season, both sides will be slightly disappointing with their starts to season. Sunderland have had some horrible results, most notably when they were thrashed 8-0 by Southampton, and have only grabbed 11 points from ten games. After last season’s fifth place finish, Everton would have been wanting to push on this season and try to get into the Champions League places. Instead, Everton sit in ninth with 13 points from their first 10 games. There were worries that Everton’s ventures into Europe would damage their league performances, and some of those worries may be coming true. With both having sub par starts to the season, they will be looking for three points to help get their league campaigns back on track.
Both teams have injury issues to key players going into this fixture. Sunderland will be without Emmanuel Giaccherini, Patrick Van Aanholt, Billy Jones, Ricky Alverez, and Sebastian Coates all until after the next international break. The Black Cats may get a boost with former Evertonian, Jack Rodwell, looking like he could be fit to face his former team.
Everton will be without Belgian star Kevin Mirralles until after the international break with a hamstring injury. Roberto Martinez’s men will also be missing Bryan Oviedo, Arouda Kone, Antolin Alcaraz, and John Stones through the next international break. They may get a lift of their own with Seamus Coleman looking like he could be fit for the match. Veteran midfielder Gareth Barry will face a late fitness test to see whether he will play or not.
- The last three meetings between these two teams have ended 1-0 with the away team winning the last two.
- Sunderland have won two of the last three meetings with Everton, but have only won two of their last 22 meetings.
- Everton have won only one of their three games coming after a Europa League game this season.
- Their one win after a Europa League match was against bottom club Burnley with their two losses coming against Manchester Untited and Crystal Palace.
- This will be the 140th time this fixture is played with Everton winning 65 of the previous meetings, Sunderland winning 52, and the points being shared in 22.
Everton: Steven Naismith
Everton’s key man for this match is their tricky Scotsman, Steven Naismith. The former Rangers man is in his third season at Goodison Park, and is having his most prolific season in English football. The Scottish international has four goals in 10 league games this campaign after only nine league goals in his first 62 league games at Everton. He has scored with 22% of his shots this season compared to only 14% in 2013-2014. Naismith has also been more creative making a chance every 73 minutes this season compared to every 96 minutes last season. The key to the 28 year old’s rise has just been more football. Despite making 31 appearances in each of the last two seasons, the Scot only averaged 46 minutes per appearance in 2013-2014 and 42 minutes per appearance in 2012-2013. This season, Naismith has averaged 81 minutes per appearance and has repaid Roberto Martinez’s faith with good performances and lots of hard work for the team.
Sunderland: Steven Fletcher
The key man for Sunderland is another Scot, Steven Fletcher. In a side that lacks goals at times, Steven Fletcher is an out and out goalscorer. The biggest problem for the Scottish international in his time at Sunderland have been his injury woes not his quality. He is the only player in the Sunderland squad to score multiple league goals in this campaign. The 27 year old has shown that he is clinical, scoring with 33% of his shots this season. The former Wolves star has the instincts to know where to be in the box to score goals and, against an Everton side with the worst defensive record in the league, his instincts and quality in front of goal could be vital.
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Sunderland will be looking to take advantage of the toll Everton’s Thursday night Europa League game will take on them. Despite Everton having the more accomplished squad, Sunderland will feel they have chance being at home and with the Toffees coming off a Thursday night game. Everton will hope that the class and depth of their squad will come good and they can leave Sunderland with the three points. With all the effort Everton had to put in on Thursday and the fact that they haven’t been at their best this season anyway, I see the two teams sharing the spoils from this match.
Prediction: 1-1 Draw