Everton vs Sunderland - Premier League preview and team news
Thursday 26 December 2013
Everton take on bottom club Sunderland looking to continue their wonderful season so far under new boss Roberto Martinez.
The omens are good for the Toffees. Not only do Sunderland have a terrible record at Goodison Park, but they have not lost at home in the Premier League since the end of 2012. On Sunday, they once again proved themselves as contenders for a Champions League place, with the winner against Swansea scored by Ross Barkley, the youngster who is receiving so much attention for his excellent displays.
Sunderland were again left to rue a missed opportunity as they were held at home by Norwich City at the weekend. It was their third goalless draw in five league games, and as that run suggests, goalscoring is still a major problem under Gustavo Poyet despite improved performances. Full-back Phil Bardsley remains the club’s leading scorer this season, with summer signing Jozy Altidore yet to have the desired impact.
Darron Gibson and Arouna Kone are long-term absentees for Everton, who are also waiting on the fitness of Nikica Jelavic, and Steven Pienaar, who was forced off during the win at Swansea. However, Leighton Baines has recovered from injury and should play.
Defender Wes Brown begins a three-match ban for Sunderland after his sending off against Norwich. Kieren Westwood and Carlos Cuellar are both unavailable through injury.
See what the expert tipsters at OLBG are tipping on Chelsea v Swansea