The Toffees travel to the North-East this weekend to face a Sunderland side who have just beaten their dear rivals and have a new found energy under new manager Paolo Di Canio. Both teams could do with all 3 points, as Sunderland need to stay above the bottom 5 and Everton can only get Europe by winning the majority of the final games.
Everton boss David Moyes has said that he isn’t sure whether the game will come too quickly for midfielder Leon Osman. The England International will face a late fitness test. Other than that, the gaffer could have a full squad to play with, there is even a chance that Tony Hibbert could make the squad.
New Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio will be without long term absentees Lee Catermole, Steven Fletcher and Wes Brown. Titus Bramble and Conor Wickham are doubts and defenders Phil Bardsley and Carlos Cuellar will have late fitness tests ahead of the game.
Attacking midfielder Stephane Sessegnon is a player that could make or break a team. That might sound funny, but if the African is on song he can float around the field, influencing play however he wishes. He can make defence splitting passes and score some great goals. If it’s a different day for Sessegnon though, he can go 90 minutes without teams knowing he’s there and can be like playing against 10 men as he isn’t likely to track back all too often.
Another threat to Everton this weekend is Danny Graham. Again, you might think that sounds funny but when I tell you that the former Swansea man hasn’t yet scored for his new team Sunderland, you might think twice. Many players seem to break their goalscoring droughts against the Blues and also score their first goals for their clubs. Just watch out.
Predicted Sunderland Line Up
Bardsley Cuellar O’Shea Rose
Johnson N’Diaye Larsson McClean
Predicted Everton Line Up
Coleman Jagielka Distin Baines
Mirallas Fellaini Pienaar
Referee: Phil Dowd
Assistant referee: S Ledger
Assistant referee: A Halliday
Fourth official: C Pawson