Marouane Fellaini scored in the 2-1 win over Sunderland earlier this season. Image courtesy of skysports.com
Two teams at opposite ends of the table, but both with plenty to play for, face off on Sunday morning in the Premier League. Everton is unbeaten in its last six EPL games, but the Toffees’ scoreless draw against Arsenal last week slowed their pursuit of a place in Europe. Sunderland , meantime, breathed new life into its season, pulling away from the relegation zone with a crushing 3-0 victory over arch rival Newcastle United. It was the club’s first victory on Tyneside for 13 years.
Realistically, QPR and Reading are almost certainly to make the drop, leaving one space open for a team to fall down to the Championship. Currently Wigan fills 18th place on 31 points, with Sunderland, Stoke City and Aston Villa locked on 34 points, although the Latics have a game in hand. The Black Cats hired firebrand manager Paolo Di Canio after sacking Martin O’Neill, and he got off on the right foot with fans with the win over Newcastle. It was the team’s first triumph in 10 games, but they need a victory at home this weekend at the Stadium of Light where they haven’t won in five starts.
Since David Moyes took over at Everton, his team hasn’t lost to Sunderland. 12 wins and six draws in 18 games is an impressive record. The Toffees won the clubs’ previous clash this season 2-1 at Goodison Park, and they may regain club stalwart Tony Hibbert at the back after he got through a midweek under-21s match. Sunderland confirmed this week that striker Steven Fletcher will miss the rest of the season after undergoing surgery on his ankle, while midfielder Craig Gardner is out serving the second match of his two-game suspension.
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