Over the last couple of years one of these sides has not been afraid to splash out tens of millions in the transfer market, while the other has taken a much more reserved approach. Suffice to say, it’s the latter, Everton, who are firm favourites for this clash as the Toffees approach the encounter sat in 5th position. Sunderland on the other hand will know that it is do-or-die time, with the Black Cats sat rock bottom of the division.
Everton are one of a number of clubs in the division who everybody has been expecting a slip-up from. Many tipped them to fare much worse this term and at least take some time to adjust to Roberto Martinez’s different management methods. However, this has not been the case and with the Goodison Park outfit accumulating thirty four points so far, it means that they could theoretically head to the top of the table if other results go for them this weekend. For Martinez, he’ll just be looking to make sure that the Toffees continue to perform like they have through recent weeks. Four wins from their last five matches and just one defeat throughout the campaign makes them have some of the best form in Europe, let alone the top flight.
Sunderland could only wish to have such a record on the other hand, and their fans must be getting desperately worried as the games tick by. The Black Cats have amassed just ten points through the campaign and this means that they’re already four points adrift of safety. However, if we are to draw the positives, the fact that Poyet’s side have now put together an unbeaten run of three matches will encourage the Uruguayan. They beat Chelsea in extra time in the League Cup, while they also managed goalless draws against Norwich and West Ham. Still, with those two outfits classed as relegation rivals, you might suggest that the Stadium of Light outfit should have taken more points if they are serious about staying in the division.
Everton could be handed a fantastic boost ahead of the clash, with Leighton Baines set to make his long-awaited return after breaking his toe last month. Elsewhere, Nikica Jelavic, Steven Pienaar and Sylvain Distin may also feature following their fitness concerns. It’s a different story for Sunderland though, with Gus Poyet set to be without a whole host of players. At the back, John O’Shea and Wes Brown are out through injury and suspension respectively, while in other areas Keiren Westwood and Carlos Cuellar are still not fit to play.
In terms of a prediction, we have to go with the form and tip a Toffees win. Roberto Martinez’s side have made a superb start to the season and with their opponents faltering so much, we think this game will end in a 2-0 win for the home outfit.