Everton V Sunderland: Tactical Match Preview

    The good ol’ Boxing day game sees bottom of the table Sunderland take on ‘title challengers’ Everton. Just like the last home game against Fulham,Everton have a brilliant record against Sunderland. Before the loss last season, the Blues had been undefeated against the Black Cats in 19 games, dating back to 12th January 2002. The loss last season was away from home and so Everton‘s home record still stands at 12 games unbeaten, dating back to 1996. Hopefully you lot aren’t afraid of the jinxing, sorry if so!

    The Teams


    After edging out Swansea on Sunday with two magnificent goals, Roberto Martinez‘s side lead the Premier League form table. It’s been a successful start to a set of games that near maximum points should be taken. No players picked up injuries or suspensions against the Swans, despite Pienaarlimping off.

    This week’s team will be very difficult to predict. While the best team available was seen against Swansea, Everton‘s side has seen rotation in recent home games. With this, Leighton Baines is back in contention and, in the words of Martinez, this provides an ‘incredible’ dilemma. With the form of Oviedo it will be ‘incredibly’ hard to drop the Costa Rican, but then again it would be ‘incredibly’ harsh to not allow Baines back into the side after performing consistently ‘phenomenally’ throughout his years at Everton.

    Estimated team (complete guess):

    I haven’t a clue on Barry’s fitness levels. If he can play all games over the Christmas period, that’d be great. Also don’t be surprised to see one of the 3 behind Lukaku rested for either Osman or Naismith.


    The Black Cats are 6 games without a win in the Premier League, although the last win was against Manchester City. In the last three games they have seen better performances, with a 0-0 draw away to West Ham where manager Gus Poyet argued they should have won, a win over Chelsea in the League Cup and a another 0-0 draw to Norwich at home. Central defender Wes Brown received a red card in the draw against the Canaries and will miss the trip to Goodison through suspension. Brown’s compatriot in central defence, John O’Shea, landed awkwardly in the same match and looks to be struggling to make the game with a back injury. He could face a late fitness test and feature although it is unlikely.

    Again the team is fairly difficult to predict. Sunderland have chopped and changed their side all season and are still yet to find their best. The centre back positions will be filled by two of Roberge, Bardsley or Diakite. This week’s away side do have some key figures in Cattermole, Larsson and Giaccherini.

    Estimated team (er…):

    Tactical Analysis

    What will Sunderland offer?

    Not much is your answer. Much like the analysis of the Fulham game, they don’t particularly have any substance or style about them or offer anything different. All their defensive stats show poor, middle-to-lower end efforts. The exact same can be said for their passing and offensive figures. They don’t have a particular style and this has been evident for a long time, even going back to Martin O’Neills management. It could be suggested that this is why they’re bottom of the table. To stand a chance of survival you need a style, such as Stoke under Pullis which is now being developed for Crystal Palace. Even Blackpool, who had one of the worst Premier League squads ever, only dropped on the final day after playing a season of great attacking, fearless football.

    Aggressive Sunderland

    One thing you can say is that under the guidance of Paolo Di Canio and now Gus Poyet, they have shown a bit of ‘fight’. They have already racked up 5 red cards, 4 coming away from home, which is a clear 3 cards ahead of anyone else. However they have only picked up 22 yellows, one of the lowest, so these red cards have either been horrendous tackles or unlucky decisions.

    Key Areas

    This game will see action down both sides of the pitch. Everton and Sunderland both record a 40% preferred attacking side and for both in their respective home and away games it’s down the left. Of course it’s unsure which Everton left hand side will play and Sunderland are also going through change, seeing Adam Johnson dropped in their recent game, so all could change on Thursday. For Sunderland, this leads to defensive problems down this side, with a league high 21% of shots coming from this area. It could be suggested that this is down to being left open when they concentrate on attacking down this side, or it could be suggested that they have Phil Bardley on his unnatural, weaker side with a winger ahead who is unwilling to track back. For Everton, the left side doesn’t struggle too much, as expected Gareth Barry plugs the gaps left by eitherOviedo or Baines.

    With Sunderland’s defensive problems, not only in conceding the second league high of 30 but also with the injuries they have now picked up, it should be Romelu Lukaku‘s day to get back to scoring after 4 games without bagging. The beasty Belgian needs to rough them up from the start and he needs support from the off from whoever is deployed behind him.


    This should (SHOULD) be 3 points for Everton and a comfortable Boxing day game. As everyone knows though, the Premier League doesn’t work like that and with Sunderland desperate for any points possible, this should not be take for granted in any way. Hopefully the Blues can sweep them aside and move top of the table for half an hour. COYB.

    Related articles



    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here

    Share article

    Latest articles


    [tdn_block_newsletter_subscribe description="U3Vic2NyaWJlJTIwdG8lMjBzdGF5JTIwdXBkYXRlZC4=" input_placeholder="Your email address" btn_text="Subscribe" tds_newsletter2-image="753" tds_newsletter2-image_bg_color="#c3ecff" tds_newsletter3-input_bar_display="row" tds_newsletter4-image="754" tds_newsletter4-image_bg_color="#fffbcf" tds_newsletter4-btn_bg_color="#f3b700" tds_newsletter4-check_accent="#f3b700" tds_newsletter5-tdicon="tdc-font-fa tdc-font-fa-envelope-o" tds_newsletter5-btn_bg_color="#000000" tds_newsletter5-btn_bg_color_hover="#4db2ec" tds_newsletter5-check_accent="#000000" tds_newsletter6-input_bar_display="row" tds_newsletter6-btn_bg_color="#da1414" tds_newsletter6-check_accent="#da1414" tds_newsletter7-image="755" tds_newsletter7-btn_bg_color="#1c69ad" tds_newsletter7-check_accent="#1c69ad" tds_newsletter7-f_title_font_size="20" tds_newsletter7-f_title_font_line_height="28px" tds_newsletter8-input_bar_display="row" tds_newsletter8-btn_bg_color="#00649e" tds_newsletter8-btn_bg_color_hover="#21709e" tds_newsletter8-check_accent="#00649e" tdc_css="eyJhbGwiOnsibWFyZ2luLWJvdHRvbSI6IjAiLCJkaXNwbGF5IjoiIn19" embedded_form_code="YWN0aW9uJTNEJTIybGlzdC1tYW5hZ2UuY29tJTJGc3Vic2NyaWJlJTIy" tds_newsletter1-f_descr_font_family="521" tds_newsletter1-f_input_font_family="521" tds_newsletter1-f_btn_font_family="521" tds_newsletter1-f_btn_font_transform="uppercase" tds_newsletter1-f_btn_font_weight="600" tds_newsletter1-btn_bg_color="#dd3333" descr_space="eyJhbGwiOiIxNSIsImxhbmRzY2FwZSI6IjExIn0=" tds_newsletter1-input_border_color="rgba(0,0,0,0.3)" tds_newsletter1-input_border_color_active="#727277" tds_newsletter1-f_descr_font_size="eyJsYW5kc2NhcGUiOiIxMiIsInBvcnRyYWl0IjoiMTIifQ==" tds_newsletter1-f_descr_font_line_height="1.3" tds_newsletter1-input_bar_display="eyJwb3J0cmFpdCI6InJvdyJ9" tds_newsletter1-input_text_color="#000000" tds_newsletter1-input_border_size="eyJwb3J0cmFpdCI6IjEifQ=="]