Everton remained in top 4 despite the unlucky draw at Craven Cottage, but the Toffees will now do everything to avoid a fifth straight stalemate. Sunderland continued to slip towards the relegation zone as they lost at home to Aston Villa, with Martin O’Neill’s side now facing a mountain to climb at Goodison Park.
Leon Osman gets England call-up
We could easily say that Everton are the biggest surprise package of the season, but such a tag might not be fair to a team that have been showing a lot of promise over the last few years. It is their consistency this season that have surprised quite a few people, but after ten impressive performances, the Toffees can be seen as genuine top 4 contenders. Their four straight draws would suggest that David Moyes’ side have suffered a dip in form of late, but that couldn’t be further from the truth, considering that Everton have completely outclassed their opponents in at least three of those matches. The Toffees were extremely unfortunate not to win at Craven Cottage last time out, having completely outplayed Fulham at their own ground, but the players can certainly take heart from that performance as they prepare to take on out-of-sorts Sunderland.
Darron Gibson is nearing his return from injury, while Victor Anichebe is doubtful after picking up an injury while playing for Everton Under-21 side.
Problems continue to mount
Sunderland have done a great piece of business in the final days of the summer transfer window, having signed the likes of Steven Fletcher and Adam Johnson, but the new players seem to have upset the balance of the squad. While the Scottish striker scored five goals in his first five league games for the club, he has failed in last seven for his club and country, while Adam Johnson has largely struggled to kick-start his career at the Stadium of Light. With the entire team relying on the two new players and Stephane Sessegnon, who is clearly far from the form that served him so well last term, the Black Cats have experienced great deal of problems of late. With back to back home defeats to Middlesbrough and Aston Villa serving as fresh blows to the players’ confidence, Sunderland are likely to struggle in an attempt to match high-flying Everton.
James McFadden, Wes Brown and Titus Bramble continue to miss out, while James McClean could return to the side.
Everton are clearly on top of their game at the moment and following such a good performance against Fulham, the Toffees can be backed to return to winning ways. Sunderland are all over the place at the moment and their problems in build-up play could see them fail to score in their fourth successive game.
Top pick: Everton/Everton 2.30 (13/10) @ 188BET
Alternative pick 1: Home win 1.50 (1/2) @ Paddy Power
Alternative pick 2: Everton to win to nil 2.38 (11/8) @ Ladbrokes