Who is the better team? Sunderland V Everton

    With another big game for both clubs tomorrow, we look at the expected teams and compare them with ratings. We expect Sunderland manager Paulo Di Canio to stick with the same players as outed in their brilliant 3-0 win over Newcastle last week.


    Simon Mignolet V Tim Howard

    Mignolet has been brilliant for Sunderland, one of the few bright sparks of a fairly poor season. A great shot stopper and isn’t afraid to come for a cross, the Belgian has been linked away from the club in next summers transfer window.

    Howard has been very good recently. Along with his usual great shot stopping, he has recently also been confident in his catching, a lot better than the start of the season anyway. It shows too, with 2 consecutive clean sheets and 4 out of the last 5 showing no goals against the Everton defence.

    Mignolet 8 –  Howard 8


    Phil Bardsley V Seamus Coleman

    Bardsley is someone you don’t want to come up against in a tackle. A player that will put 100% into anything he does, especially tackles. While not the best going forward, he is dependable but this season has been in and out with injuries. If he takes his place in the Mackems line up again, he could be in for a tough time with the Pienaar – Baines combo.

    Coleman, recently awarded Everton’s player of the month award and rightly so, has been excellent for the majority of the season. From the beginning of the season where he was attacking well but being a large factor in Everton’s leaky defence, the Irishman has really turned it around and is now solid at the back but maintains that attacking threat.

    Bardsley 6 –  Coleman 7

    John O’Shea V Phil Jagielka

    Former Manchester United man John O’Shea has been right at the centre of what has been a fairly strong defence in comparison with teams in which they mix with in the Premier League table. Yet another player that is dependable but not great with the ball at his feet, he may have a hard afternoon on his hands with Victor Anichebe bullying defenders for the past month.

    Phil Jagielka put in another great display at the Emirates on Tuesday. A strong contender for Man of the Match and has been for a number of weeks. It looks like the England International has really taken his future captain role with great pride and is showing his team-mates just how much commitment they should be showing on the field.

    O’Shea 7 – Jagielka 8

    Carlos Cuellar V Sylvain Distin

    Cuellar, when fit, has been O’Shea’s central defence partner this season. The former Aston Villa man did come off against Newcastle last week, but is expected to return. The Spaniard is a threat in the air too, with a goal and 2 assists this season.

    Distin was again brilliant against Arsenal on Tuesday. The 35 year-old Frenchman just doesn’t stop. Winning a race against Theo Walcott just proved how fit he is and still raring to go. If he and the other Everton defence keep up their recent performances, the Blues are going to finish with one of the best defensive records in the league this season.

    Cuellar 7 – Distin 8

    Danny Rose V Leighton Baines

    Rose, an England U21 international on loan from Tottenham Hostpur, is another player to stand up and be counted from the poor showings from Sunderland this season. The pacey midget can throw himself about in defence yet bomb up the wing and provide the odd dangerous ball. He’ll be fighting Tottenham regulars for a left-back place next season.

    Unfortunately for Rose, he comes up against Leighton Baines. The Everton and England man became the first player in Europe to create over 100 chances for his team-mates this season. With 5 goals and 4 assists this season, he is not only good in defence but one of Everton’s key attacking outlets and Mackem fans will be hoping Di Canio will have recognised this or it could be a tormenting afternoon.

    Rose 8 – Baines 9


    Adam Johnson V Kevin Mirallas

    Johnson moved to Sunderland for a chunky sum of £12 million. Since moving, he hasn’t really hit the heights of his best form that he showed for City or once for Middlesborough, that got him his initial move to the current Champions. Still a player that can produce a moment of quality, the Everton defensive players need to be aware of him cutting onto that left foot.

    Mirallas is the player that people thought Adam Johnson was going to be. The tricky Belgian winger has shown scintillating form over recent games and has appeared to have shaken off those hamstring injuries *touches wood*.  Sunderland fans and players better watch out, because this man is bound to do something brilliant at one point in the game, even if it’s skinning someone when doing defensive duties like we saw against Keiran Gibbs on Tuesday.

    Johnson 7  –  Mirallas 8

    Alfred N’Diaye V Darron Gibson

    N’Diaye has come in and done very well for Sunderland since joining in January from Bursapor. The Frenchman has come in and added steel that Sunderland were lacking through missing club captain Lee Cattermole. Strong and positionally very good, one of the few good buys in the Martin O’Neil era.

    This is another match up that is slightly unfortunate for a Sunderland player. Darron Gibson is another Irishman on show, and what an Irishman he is. Probably the most underrated player in the league, seriously. Just as good positionally as N’Diaye, but also has the ability to not only retain the ball, but to pull out some fantastic passing when Everton are lacking it. His record when he’s in the Everton team speaks volumes.

    N’Diaye 7 –  Gibson 8

    Sebastian Larsson V Marouane Fellaini

    In my opinion Larsson has been poor this season, but this could be due to him taking on a rather new role in central midfield. The Sweedish man was never gifted with pace, but it looks as if any trace of pace has left him and now his technical abilities are being used in central midfield. His delivery from set pieces is a reason to keep him in the team, though.

    This was a hard player to call for this article, because it’s unknown whether Leon Osman will return. I think Moyes will personally not risk Osman too early, and Fellaini who was a monster against Arsenal on Tuesday will regain his preferred central midfield place. One more chance for the tall Belgian to show what he can do in a box-to-box role, winning the ball and giving it simple, dominating the midfield.

    Larsson 6 – Fellaini 8

    James McClean V Steven Pienaar

    McClean originally came in under Steve Bruce in the summer of 2011, but shot onto the stage under Martin O’Neill in the same season. Much like our very own Seamus Coleman, he was a player that came from the Irish league and was tearing it up. Not afraid to run at a man and had the final delivery to match. The outspoken winger has then suffered second season syndrome, much like Coleman did.

    The suspension that South African Steven Pienaar received against Manchester City came at an awful time for him personally. After not being at his best for most of the season, he was just looking at getting into form in the weeks leading up to the suspension and since returning against QPR and Arsenal, he looks to have dipped again. Still full of quality and his link up play with Baines not to be under-estimated.

    McClean 6 – Pienaar 8

    Stéphane Sessègnon V Ross Barkley

    Stéphane Sessègnon is a player that really intrigues me. A player that on one day can be brilliant and tear defences to shreds, yet on a different day can be quite anonymous. Still I think Sessègnon is Sunderland’s best attacking player and unfortunately for the Sunderland faithful, won’t be around too much longer, much like our Marouane Fellaini.

    Ross Barkley grew and grew into the game against Arsenal. Starting off fairly intimidated, by the end he was skinning Arteta and threading a delightful through ball for Anichebe. Everton boss David Moyes finally looks to have given him his chance, with two starts in the last 3, against Tottenham and Arsenal respectively.

    Sessègnon 8 – Barkley 7 


    Danny Graham V Victor Anichebe

    Graham moving to Sunderland was a strange one. Not only had he p*ssed off Sunderland fans with past comments, he was a fairly average player going for £5 million. When you look at Mirallas for close to the same price at £6 million, you have to question what O’Neill was thinking. When I saw others saying we should be in for him at £5 million, I was bewildered. Any money he scores his first goal for the Mackems on Saturday, though.

    Anichebe is a the biggest revelation many Evertonians have ever seen. Going from constant injuries, moaning in the press, moaning on the field and generally annoying Everton fans, he is now close, still only close, to being a fan favourite. All Everton fans ever ask for is commitment, and this season Anichebe is showing that, chasing down lost causes but actually benefiting from it with standing ovations for the Nigerian. Not only putting in the hard work now, as he is reaping the benefits of regular football, using his strength to hold defenders off and hold the ball up, which Everton tactics desperately need. Still needs to work on his goalscoring though.

    Graham 6 – Anichebe 7



    Sunderland 76

    Everton 86

    The Blues come out with a 10 point advantage, which if you look at the table standings this probably isn’t too far off. Obviously team ratings don’t mean anything though, with Sunderland bound to have a feel good factor around the place with the great win against their rivals last week and Di Canio showing the passion they’ve been after for years. Moyes is one of the few managers that you’d trust not to let the opposition succumb to this though, so we’re in for a good game.


    Do you think we’ve got it wrong? Let us know below or sign up to and give your thoughts with other Evertonians and even some Sunderland fans.

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