Sunderland vs Everton: Match preview and predicted line-ups
David Moyes faces former club Everton at the Stadium of Light on Monday, still seeking his first league win as Sunderland boss. The Black Cats dispatched Everton 3-0 back in a May, a result that assured them of Premier League survival. Under the guidance of new manager Ronald Koeman however, the visitors are likely to provide a stiffer test this time around.
The Toffees have won just one of their last four visits to Sunderland in the league, but will be firm favourites for this game. The Toffees have conceded just two goals in their first three games of the season; suggesting they are on their way to arresting the defensive problems they suffered under Roberto Martinez.
Moyes has already admitted that Sunderland could well face another relegation battle this season, and there has been little evidence so far that he is wrong. Their need for a win becomes ever more desperate by the week, so that should make this one an open encounter.
Sunderland have just one point from three league games, and cruelly conceded an 85th minute equaliser last time out at Southampton only five minutes after taking the lead. They also conceded a late goal in their 2-1 defeat away at Manchester City, though that result is no disgrace. Sandwiched between those games was the 2-1 home loss against local rivals Middlesbrough, the result that would have stung most out of their three games so far.
Everton meanwhile have amassed a solid total of seven points from nine thus far, building on a draw with Spurs on the opening day with wins over West Brom and Stoke. Both teams are both safely through to the third round of the EFL Cup, also.
Sunderland predicted XI Everton predicted XI
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Injuries and Suspensions
Fabio Borini is a long term absentee for the home side after suffering a thigh strain that is likely to keep him out for a few months. Sunderland could welcome back Jan Kirchhoff though, who was an integral component at the end of last season. Experienced midfield pair Lee Cattermole and Seb Larsson are still out. Talisman Jermain Defoe is doubtful due to a knock but should make it. James McCarthy went down with a groin injury this week, and he joins fellow midfielders Tom Cleverley, Muhamed Besic and Darron Gibson on the treatment table. Seamus Coleman also remains out, with Matthew Holgate set to deputise.
Sunderland will be anxious to secure their first three points of the season, and that could play into the hands of Everton who can be devastating on the break.
Other than Defoe, there seems to be a lack of firepower at Sunderland and they’ll be relying on Adnan Januzaj to produce a moment of magic. He is capable, but there are too many bum notes to rely on him currently. New boy and former Everton forward Victor Anichebe is likely to start from the bench.
Everton have been more comfortable with the ball than most teams for a few seasons, but Koeman seems to be instilling greater defensive concentration and discipline. Ross Barkley and Romelu Lukaku possess pace and power in abundance, and though the pair can frustrate, they have the potential to rip any team apart and this could be a bleak night for Moyes if those two get going.
A draw doesn’t suit Sunderland, but they could be vulnerable if they open themselves up.
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