Sunderland have a great chance of staying up this season. That’s not a sentence many would have taken any notice of a few weeks ago, but they’re picking up crucial points as we head towards the business end of the campaign.
Their only problem is that they’re struggling to find any real consistency. They’ve recorded back-to-back victories only once this season, while their 4-0 victory over Crystal Palace three weeks ago was the only game the Black Cats managed to find the net in in their last five outings in all competitions.
So the question we’re asking in the build-up to Saturday’s clash with Everton is which Sunderland side will turn up?
It’s quite a misleading stat, but David Moyes has never lost in this fixture at Goodison Park. Granted, on each of the previous 10 occasions, he was in charge of the Toffees, but it’s something for travelling supporters to cling on to as they make the journey to Merseyside.
And their form in this fixture over the last few years has been equally inconsistent. Their last 10 results against Everton look like this –LLWWLDWLWL.
In that time they’ve won 3-0 and lost 3-0, they’ve won 1-0 and lost 1-0 and faced a 6-2 battering.
But having given themselves a genuine chance of survival in recent weeks, we’re expecting Moyes’ men to put up a fight this weekend – especially with how much this game means to the Black Cats boss on a personal level.
The Toffees brushed Sunderland aside earlier in the campaign, as the north east outfit put in a shocking performance at the Stadium of Light, conceding three goals in the space of 11 minutes.
Two defeats in a row against his former club would be hard for Moyes to swallow. But given his recent form against some of the so-called ‘bigger clubs’ of the division, it might not be something he’ll experience on Saturday.
Draws against Liverpool and Chelsea since the turn of the year have given this side a much-needed confidence boost. Throw in the fact that Sunderland have no less than six former Everton players in their squad, and they’ll head to Merseyside with a point to prove.
Even a draw would be good for Sunderland here, especially after the 4-0 drubbing they suffered two weeks ago away at Southampton.
Swansea face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, while either Crystal Palace or Middlesbrough will drop points when they meet each other and then Leicester City welcome Liverpool to the King Power on Monday night.
With that in mind, it’s not beyond the realms of imagination to expect very few sides currently in the bottom six picking up any points this weekend – and that’s something Sunderland will be looking to capitalise on.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing