Everton and Sunderland go into the last few games having underachieved heavily this season but with still much at stake. The away side will have the bigger emphasis to win as the relegation battle thickens and with time running out, a positive result here is crucial for Sunderland’s chances of survival. The Toffees have been poor by their standard this season but have improved their form of late and will want to push for a top 10 finish and but the season behind them.
Sunderland sit in the final relegation place but could see themselves jump into 14th if results go their way so it is still in their hands, which can’t be said of QPR and Burnley who are destined for the Championship next season. A win against Southampton last time out was a fantastic result for Dick Advocaat and his men but will have to produce more of the same away at Goodison Park.
Everton won five of their last six games before last weekend but fell away to Aston Villa in a 3-2 defeat. After a poor middle part of the season, the Toffees have pushed themselves into 11th and are looking good odds on pushing into the top half of the table which is no consolation but will have to do for Roberto Martinez and his men.
Darren Gibson will miss the rest of the season with a fractured metatarsal as will Tony Hibbert (knee) and Bryan Oviedo (foot). Steven Pienaar will also miss this weekend’s clash with a muscle problem and his situation will be assessed in the coming weeks.
John O’Shea suffered a concussion during the win against Southampton and is 50/50 for the weekend. Fellow central defender Wes Brown could be available however after recovering from a knee injury sustained at the start of April. Steven Fletcher may also be fit after an ankle injury but Emanuele Giaccherini and Ricardo Alvarez are out for the season.
- Everton have won their last four home matches and have only lost one of their last 14 at Goodison Park.
- In those 14 matches, they have just seven goals, whilst keeping eight clean sheets.
- In contrast, Sunderland have not won in their last eight away games, drawing four and losing four.
- Sunderland have won just two of the last 20 Premier League games against Everton but won this fixture last time out with a 1-0 victory in December 2013.
League Head to Heads
2014/2015 Sun 09 Nov Sunderland 1 – 1 Everton Premier League
2013/2014 Sat 12 Apr Sunderland 0 – 1 Everton Premier League
2013/2014 Thu 26 Dec Everton 0 – 1 Sunderland Premier League
2012/2013 Sat 20 Apr Sunderland 1 – 0 Everton Premier League
2012/2013 Sat 10 Nov Everton 2 – 1 Sunderland Premier League
2011/2012 Mon 09 Apr Everton 4 – 0 Sunderland Premier League
2011/2012 Tue 27 Mar Sunderland 0 – 2 Everton F.A. Cup
2011/2012 Sat 17 Mar Everton 1 – 1 Sunderland F.A. Cup
2011/2012 Mon 26 Dec Sunderland 1 – 1 Everton Premier League
Everton: Romelu Lukaku
Romelu Lukaku has been inconsistent all year as Everton’s main goal threat and has only managed nine goals this season in the Premier League. However, with a goal in their last game against Aston Villa he will look to use this to help finish his season on a high and give Everton a chance of finishing in the top 10. The formidable Belgian forward has the ability to cause absolute havoc to defenders with his pace and power but has not managed to do it often enough this season but he still has a 51% success out of his 82 attempted dribbles showing that even in bad form he can still trouble defenders.
Sunderland: Connor Wickham
After bursting on to the scenes towards the end of last season with goals against the likes of Man City and Chelsea to help Sunderland survive the relegation battle, Connor Wickham may have to repeat the feat in order for Sunderland to stay up for yet another season. The English forward has scored only five goals this season in the Premier League but is still Sunderland’s top scorer showing how weak their attacking threat is so Wickham will have to step up, especially in the absence of Steven Fletcher. Wickham goes into this game in a good run of form with two goals in his last three games and offers a good aerial threat as well with his height and has won 47% of his 173 aerial duels.
I can’t see past an Everton win here although my predictions have been off in recent weeks. Sunderland enjoying a much needed win last week and they will again need similar heroics as last season to grind out a result in this one.
My Prediction – Everton 2-1 Sunderland