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Venue: Stadium of Light, Sunderland
Premier League
 Monday 22 November; 8:00pm
SUNDERLAND
2 2
 EVERTON
Welbeck (23' 70')
Half Time: 1-1
Cahill (6')
Arteta (83')
Attendance: 37,331
Fixture 14
Referee: Peter Walton

Match Summary

Nothing ventured in this massive crunch game, a fixture Everton have won in four out of the last five, Moyes going tried and trusted, 4-5-1, despite its abject failure to provide the goals so far this season.  Louis Saha up-front all on his lonesome, the vastly improved Yakubu overlooked for the third match on a row.  Everything else pretty much as expected: the dreadful Arteta and the questionable Heitinga picked to start, with Rodwell and Bily on the bench. 

No Gyan for Sunderland after their stunning 3-0 win at Champions Chelsea, but Darren Bent is back alongside Welbeck in a two-pronged attack. The visitors kicked off but an early Sunderland corner came to nothing.  The game seemed to be going nowhere down the right when Jagielka switched play crossfield and suddenly Pienaar sets Baines free on the left, a fantastic cross, Cahill nails it... GOAL!

A series of Sunderland free-kicks were cleared with good defensive headers, the third driven low, Howard saving low to his left.  It din't take long, though for Everton to descend into safety-first football, with passes back instead of forward runs players chosing to play the ball defensively or just hoof it forward aimlessly.  Of course, they rare time they didn't, Arteta ruined a promising move with a dreadful pass that set up a Sunderland attack.

Richardson and Coleman tussled boisterously down the right, which got the crowd wound up even more when the ref failed to give the home side a free-kick.  But most of the game was being played in the Everton half, the ball up in the air for puerile sessions of head-tennis.  23 mins and Zendon skipped past Pienaar and galloped in, sliding a great ball past Baines and Welbeck couldn't miss at the near post... and he didn't.  1-1.

Baines took Everton's first corner and it looked that Cahill had scored again but it was cleared by three players on the line. The clearance came back and a high ball was won off the keeper by Cahill, played back to Distin but his shot was horribly high

A Neville clip forward was brilliantly anticipated by Cahill and clipped over the advancing Gordon but Turner stopped it on the line, colliding heavily with the post in the process.  Arteta than had a shot after a sequence of headers set him  up but it was hopelessly high and wide.

The hour-mark came with each side looking to stretch the game after a period of Everton dominance, Sunderland winning a corner that was headed away well by Distin.  A period of sustained pressure for Everton followed but in looking for the perfect set-up, it never happened. Jack Rodwell entered the five-minute pre-sub pre-brief instructional session from Moyes on the sidelines before he came on to replace Coleman of all people?!?

A nice move almost a breakaway followed but Arteta, well positioned to shoot, chose a clever sideways clip to Pienaar who was pushed too wide and the glorious chance had gone.  Malbranque came on for Zendon as Sunderland broke after Arteta went to sleep, Bent' s shot out for the corner, from which a cross eventually came in off Richardson, who had picked the ball up wide when offside after taking the corner, that Welbeck headed well beyond Howard and into the far top corner. 

Everton had paid the price twice-fold for not putting them to the sword after that nice early goal... so, so predictable.  Now wait 5 mins and go 4-3-3...???

Rodwell and Bardsley squared off, Jack earning himself a silly yellow card.   Everton pushed and probed, but looked as ever to overplay it, with Saha, Pienaar and Rodwell doing the "After you, Claude" walk it into the net routine. Sure enough, 82 mins and Moyes plays his masterstroke, Yakubu for Saha and Beckford for Heitinga. And incredibly, this time it worked! (Although neither of the new subs were involved.)

Arteta looked to have missed his opportunity to shoot, but fired in a weak shot that the keeper had well covered miraculous clipped off Bardsley's foot and into the opposite side of the net! 

Both sides could have gone for the win after that, and Malbranque released Bent who fired into the side netting. But as 4 mins went up on the fourth official's board, Everton's ponderous multi-pronged attack only succeeded in getting in each other's way in the Sunderland area.   At the other end, Welbeck came so close to securing the win for Sunderland and his hat-trick.

10 seconds left and an incredible piece of Route One/hoofball [delete as appropriate] lands perfectly for Beckford with just the keeper to beat... and he leathers it just over!!! Moyes collapses in despair on the sidelines.  He was not alone.  Once again, extremely frustrating stuff. 

Michael Kenrick

Match Report

Everton came from behind to grab another away point but, as daunting as this trip to Sunderland might have felt in the wake of the Black Cats' stunning victory at Chelsea last weekend, it was another game that the Blues had more than enough possession to win but couldn't get it done in the final third.

The recurring theme of plenty of attractive possession play but too little end product was pervasive for the Blues for much of this game but, Cahill aside, they were tentative in front of goal. And though a horrendous oversight by the referee's assistant of a clear offside allowed Sunderland to take the lead in the second half, David Moyes's side could have few complaints, particularly as Jermaine Beckford's passed up a last-gasp chance to win it all.

The teams were still feeling each other out when Steven Pienaar and Leighton Baines combined down the Everton left with the latter swinging in a perfect cross for Tim Cahill to plant a downward header past Craig Gordon to hand the Blues the ideal start.

That they didn't use it as the platform to push on and extend their lead would be their undoing by the 23rd minute when Boudewijn Zenden spun away from Pienaar, took Baines' invitation to show him onto his right foot and crossed low to Danny Welbeck who side-footed inside Tim Howard's left-hand post.

The immediate sense was that, having got back on level terms, Sunderland would take control of proceedings and after an awful Phil Neville pass intended for Seamus Coleman was stolen by Phil Bardsley, Kieron Richardson fired just wide.

But Everton regained their footing and the upper hand for the rest of the half and after Pienaar's low drive had been saved, Cahill looked to have headed them back into the lead. Lee Catermole, however, had other ideas, sticking out his head and blocking the ball on the line.

Playing the better football despite another subdued display by Mikel Arteta, Everton looked the more likely to score before the break and Coleman and Saha both had fairly tame shots saved after cutting inside from the right as, again, the cutting edge just wasn't there.

Sunderland emerged from half time with renewed energy, though, and Darren Bent went close for Sunderland with a glancing header over the crossbar and Welbeck tested Howard with a low drive. Indeed, when Zenden had a shot blocked by Distin, again enjoying another impressive display, it seemed as though Steve Bruce's men were turning the screw on the visitors.

But nine minutes into the second half, Cahill was denied again by a last-ditch intervention on the goalline when, having beaten Gordon to the ball and clipped it over the stranded 'keeper, Michael Turner was on hand to belt it clear.

As the second period progressed, it was clear that the Blues were frustrating the home fans no end, their disgruntlement evident as the Black Cats routinely failed to mount attacks and allowed Everton to control the majority of possession. They couldn't find a second goal, though. Arteta ended a lovey passing move by blazing over from the edge of the box before a quick break that saw Saha find Arteta and the Spaniard in turn put Pienaar in in space in the area but he opted against the more obvious right-footed shot, delayed to move in onto his left and his shot was deflected behind for a corner.

There were 20 minutes left when Arteta went to sleep in midfield and allowed himself to be cheaply dispossessed, the end result being a clear chance for Bent but, thankfully, he smashed it into the side-netting. Though the resulting corner was cleared, the ball was returned to Richardson on the far side, at least two yards offside, but the winger was allowed to cross to Welbeck who steered a header into the far corner and hand Sunderland the lead in controversial fashion.

Inexplicably, the Everton bench was quiet for almost 10 minutes before Yakubu and Beckford were finally introduced, Moyes withdrawing John Heitinga after another iffy performance in central midfield and Saha for the closing stages.

While neither of the newly-introduced strikers were directly involved in what followed, the Blues were level a minute later when Arteta drove purposefully into the Sunderland area and though he too eschewed the first opportunity to shoot, bringing the ball onto his left and pulling the "trigger", his eventual shot deflected off Bardsley and past Gordon to make it 2-2.

With time ticking away, neither side appeared all that willing to go in search of a winner but a golden chance to grab just that arrived four minutes into injury time. Jagielka raked a ball forward that Beckford anticipated superbly and as it dropped between two defenders and sat up in front of him, all he had to do was dink it over the on-rushing Gordon. Unfortunately, in his excitement, he opted for too much power and despatched his shot over the bar. Moyes slumped to his haunches in disbelief, head in his hands and referee Peter Walton called time on what was an entertaining yet frustrating game from Everton's perspective.

Sunderland were a long way short of their post-Stamford Bridge billing and you have to wonder how Everton might have fared had Arteta shown up before the 82nd minute. Certainly, the Everton of last season like that which won so convincingly at Manchester City would have won comfortably but the Spaniard was a befuddling vision of lethargy and were it not for Pienaar and Coleman, there would have been precious little drive from the midfield.

The decision to remove Coleman for Jack Rodwell mid-way through the second half seemed to do nothing but kill the Blues' momentum and the arrivals of the Yak and Beckford were at least 10 minutes too late, leaving Saha to plow his lonely furrow ahead of Cahill who, at least, lived up to his side of the bargain with a goal and two chances that would have yielded more were it not for defensive heroics on the goalline.

Despite having lost just one of their last nine games, Everton are just two points above the relegation zone and falling further adrift of a wide-open Champions League race. The team that so many thought would be right up there challenging the top three or four look toothless, are lacking inspiration from the Club's top earner, and are suffering from their manager's stubborn resistance to trying anything more adventurous than 4-5-1.

Player Ratings:
Howard 6, Neville 7, Jagielka 7, Distin 8, Baines 7, Heitinga 6 (Beckford 6), Arteta 6, Coleman 7 (Rodwell 6), Pienaar 8*, Saha 6 (Yakubu 6)

Lyndon Lloyd

* Unfortunately, we cannot control other sites' content policies and therefore cannot guarantee that links to external reports will remain active.

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SUNDERLAND(4-4-2)
  Gordon
  Bardsley
  Richardson
  Turner
  Onuoha
  Ferdinand
  Cattermole
  Zenden (69' Malbranque)
  Henderson (85' Al-Muhammadi)
  Bent
  Welbeck
  Subs not used
  Mignolet
  Angeleri
  Da Silva,
  Riveros
  Adams

EVERTON (4-5-1)
  Howard
  Neville
  Jagielka
  Distin
  Baines
  Heitinga :17' (83' Beckford)
  Coleman (65' Rodwell :74')
  Arteta
  Cahill
  Pienaar
  Saha (82' Yakubu)
  Subs not used
  Mucha
  Hibbert
  Bilyaletdinov
  Gueye
  Unavailable
  Fellaini (Suspended)
  Osman (injured)
  Anichebe (injured)

Premier League Scores
Saturday
Arsenal 2-3 Tottenham
Birmingham 1-0 Chelsea
Blackpool 2-1 Wolves
Bolton 5-1 Newcastle
Liverpool 3-0 West Ham
Man United 2-0 Wigan
West Brom 0-3 Stoke
Sunday
Blackburn 2-0 Aston Villa
Fulham 1-4 Man City
Monday
Sunderland 2-2 Everton


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