Seamus Coleman is a doubt again due to a cut to his ankle
With the campaign in Europe continuing to go according to plan, Everton return to Premier League action trying once more to establish some momentum on the domestic front following last weekend's disappointing draw with Swansea.
The Blues saw off Lille in confident fashion on Thursday night and fans making the trip to Wearside this Sunday will be hoping for a repeat of the League result that followed the first meeting with the French side last month. That 0-0 draw was followed by a 3-1 defeat of Burnley and Everton take on another team struggling for form this time in the form of Sunderland.
Gus Poyet's side scored a handsome win of their own last Monday when they took down Crystal Palace on their own turf but that was only their second win of the season and it came in the wake of 8-0 drubbing at the hands of Southampton and a 2-0 home defeat to Arsenal.
Nevertheless, they come into the weekend just two points behind Everton, which perhaps speaks volumes about the Blues' patchy record over the first quarter of the season. Roberto Martinez has overseen just one more win than his opposite number — and yet his side remain just four points off the coveted top four places.
In that search for consistency and momentum, Martinez will have been hugely encouraged by Everton's performance against Lille under the Goodison lights the other night. They comprehensively dismantled the Great Danes on the back of impressive displays by James McCarthy, Aiden McGeady, Steven Naismith and Romelu Lukaku.
The Belgian striker may not have scored but he looked fitter and sharper than perhaps at any point in the season thus far and that bodes well for the trip to Sunderland and beyond. It also suggests he will be in the starting XI at the Stadium of Light, perhaps with goalscorer Steven Naismith and Samuel Eto'o in a repeat of the attacking trio that put Burnley to the sword.
hasn't started either of the games has only started one of the two matches since he scored twice at Turf Moor and he could be due for a recall. That would, of course, make it difficult to incorporate Ross Barkley into the side but it's a conundrum that the manager will continue to face while the bulk of his squad is fit. Steven Pienaar was another player who sat out against Lille and could come in for Leon Osman, while Darron Gibson and Muhamed Besic will be on standby should Gareth Barry fail a late fitness test on an ankle injury.
Seamus Coleman will also be assessed before the game to determine whether a cut to his heel has healed sufficiently to allow him to play. Tony Hibbert is the likely deputy should the Irishman be forced to remain on the sidelines while Sylvain Distin is expected to continue at centre-half alongside Phil Jagielka.
Though they will have been buoyed by their win in South London thanks to top scorer Steven Fletcher's brace, as that awful showing at Southampton showed, the Black Cats are susceptible to conceding goals. That presents an opportunity for an Everton side who carved out three goals in the Europa League this past week, after being shut out for the first time in the Premier League by Swansea five days earlier.
While no away match is ever a banker, this is certainly a fixture that a Blues side aiming for Champions League qualification should be winning and, certainly, if everything comes together as Evertonians would expect, then three points should be in the offing. It will take a more imaginative and incisive performance than was the case against the Swans, though.
Kick off: Sunday, 1:30pm
Referee: Lee Mason
Full coverage: ToffeeWeb Match Reports
Reader Comments (75)
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1 Posted 08/11/2014 at 07:37:06
Only conceded one goal in five games and another clean sheet would surely get us another three points and put us in a decent position going into yet another international break.
3 Posted 08/11/2014 at 09:03:43
In the middle, I will start with McCarthy and Gibson. Defence will be as on Thursday. That can give some freshness while having some continuity.
And if the game is panning out to our favour, to introduce Besic for McCarthy, Browning for Hibbert and/or Oveido for Baines to keep the players fresh and give match fitness/experience.
4 Posted 08/11/2014 at 08:47:19
Also hope they donÂt think it will be a stroll, as we have seen all too often in the recent past, teams you expect to get a win against, more often or not surprise us and leave us with an abundance of egg rolling off our collective chins.
I also notice that our kick-off is early at 13:30 yet they do not appear to be on TV, well not Sky for sure. Does anyone know any different, and why the early start?
5 Posted 08/11/2014 at 09:31:21
Hopefully we continue to climb towards our potential. Sounds like the good luck charm Hibbo will play. COYB!
6 Posted 08/11/2014 at 09:59:43
I expect to see Distin at the back with Hibbert and IÂd have no qualms about seeing Browning on the bench. Midfield: General McCarthy, probably Gibson because of the Barry situation; Naismith, Barkley, Oviedo and Pienaar.
This will be a 90-minute, no-let-up game. No prisoners will be taken.
7 Posted 08/11/2014 at 10:25:56
8 Posted 08/11/2014 at 10:34:31
9 Posted 08/11/2014 at 10:31:51
ItÂs an away game and none are easy but after the confidence boosting win against Lille (with no travel involved), IÂm expecting us to grind out the 3 points. Sunderland really are a very average side.
Looks like weÂll be missing Coleman, which is a blow, but others have to step up. If a few out of Barkley, Lukaku, EtoÂo, Naismith and Pienaar have good games in attack, then we should be fine. Hibbert will be solid and Browning can get a few more minutes late in the second half... I hope so anyway!
10 Posted 08/11/2014 at 10:56:35
I would start with Lukaku and give him 60 minutes or so to capitalise on his good performance against Lille. I think McGeady has also earned a start with his recent form... might as well keep the momentum going when heÂs playing well.
I hope Browning is given a chance if Coleman misses out; I canÂt understand why RM has been so reluctant to use him, he looked very impressive defending and going forward in the 45-minute cameo against RS - the lad needs game time to develop.
I just hope thereÂs no square pegs in round holes... Hopefully no Naismith or Osman stuck out on the wing. Both are good players but need playing in their correct positions. Osman played well on Thursday in the left midfield position but usually he doesnÂt excel playing there.
I would play:
Browning Jagielka Distin Baines
McGeady Barkley Pienaar
Hopefully Gibson will get 30 minutes or so, he looked very impressive spraying the ball about against Lille; he could be a very valuable squad member if he can stay fit.
11 Posted 08/11/2014 at 11:52:26
12 Posted 08/11/2014 at 11:55:30
If ColemanÂs out, I think that has to be Hibbert at right back. Browning can come in, but Hibbo played well in mid-week and his experience will count. Likewise has to be Besic for Barry IF the latter is injured.
Pienaar on the left to have a genuine wide player and likewise McGeady on the right, his running will be doubly important with Coleman out. Naismith to come on for either if theyÂre struggling.
Barkley is a must start and IÂd probably start Lukaku but def be thinking about giving EtoÂo a crack for more than the last 15 if we donÂt get a breakthrough.
Hibbert Jagielka Distin Baines
McGeady Barkley Pienaar
Subs: Robles, Browning, Gibson, Naismith, Osman, Oviedo, EtoÂo (with Atsu for Oviedo if heÂs still not fit).
13 Posted 08/11/2014 at 11:56:26
Sunderland are set-piece experts and we will need to stay awake and not lose focus.
14 Posted 08/11/2014 at 12:09:32
15 Posted 08/11/2014 at 12:36:49
16 Posted 08/11/2014 at 13:16:17
Browning Jagielka Distin Baines
McGeady Barkley Pienaar
EtoÂo and Besic on from the bench.
17 Posted 08/11/2014 at 13:34:56
As this is going to be a hard battle Â– why wouldnÂt you be playing your best two strikers?
Oh deary me! Please put the old thinking cap on.
Yours Evertonially, Maxie.
18 Posted 08/11/2014 at 13:34:11
Subs: Robles, Browning, Garbutt, Barkley, Gibson, Atsu, EtoÂo,
19 Posted 08/11/2014 at 13:45:39
I couldnÂt agree with you more. I have been banging on all season about how playing too many "centre" forwards has caused us two problems:
Players running into each others space, and leaving midfield light, affecting our build up play.
20 Posted 08/11/2014 at 14:23:08
21 Posted 08/11/2014 at 15:03:41
22 Posted 08/11/2014 at 15:32:24
23 Posted 08/11/2014 at 16:25:30
Jay, square pegs in round holes was OFM biggest defect. I hope Roberto doesnÂt go down that road.
24 Posted 08/11/2014 at 16:41:30
3 points tomorrow is vital to get the momentum going but I would prefer to see Besic McCarthy and Barry in midfield against the Black Cats as I feel there will be a real battle for midfield domination.
25 Posted 08/11/2014 at 16:43:37
Nothing against Mo who is a nice tidy little player but Barry is the glue for this team.
26 Posted 08/11/2014 at 16:53:54
27 Posted 08/11/2014 at 16:59:57
28 Posted 08/11/2014 at 17:06:22
As soon as we become hesitant in our play, it really affects our whole game plan. As long as we can keep the ball moving with fluidity, we are a match for anyone in this League.
We really should have too much for an average Sunderland side. I also think playing these scrappy sides away from Goodison suits us better at this point Â– as the home side, the onus is on them to open the play up and go for the win.
29 Posted 08/11/2014 at 17:15:30
ItÂs a pivotal game at a pivotal time. We need to score early and then keep possession (another reason that McGeady and Osman must not feature, let alone play) and get a second just before or after half-time.
0-3 would send the right message to Soton, WHU and other CL hopefuls.
30 Posted 08/11/2014 at 18:03:43
1. Our passing was purposeful: incisive and with a forward push, much more likely to happen when Pienaar is playing, in my view.
2. We were solid at the back and played as one team. (McGeady isolates Coleman all too often, And Seamus isnÂt the most natural out-and-out defender anyway.)
We look a much better side with Besic, but he has taken to the slow backward and sideways passing too. I donÂt mind us keeping the ball and playing along the line at the back and moving forward with pace at the right time, but we need to keep a shape for that Â– and we donÂt. Both Rom and Sam come very deep in search of the ball, especially when we play slow and that ruins our shape Â– and Naismith the same sometimes/often. Perhaps we would play with more purpose if one of Barry/McCarthy played in a more advanced role in central midfield dictating play, but IÂm not sure if either is a midfield general. This team so needs the calming influence of a Reid/Bracewell and the incisive final ball of a Tricky Trev. While weÂre at it, we could put the best ever goalkeeper (anywhere in the world) in goal... :-)
31 Posted 08/11/2014 at 18:13:17
32 Posted 08/11/2014 at 18:20:52
But there is a great opportunity to get the season up and running tomorrow and at least make a challenge at the top end of the table. TomorrowÂs result may have a big bearing on the rest of the PL campaign.
33 Posted 08/11/2014 at 18:22:37
Consensus seems to be that those two played well midweek (as did Hibbo who you would have in your side). Not that IÂm surprised to hear it from you. Even a broken watch is right sometime in the day Â– so, if you keep saying it long enough, youÂll eventually be right about Osman!
36 Posted 08/11/2014 at 18:42:20
I agree about the passing, it was far more purposeful and quicker last year, it took a few months to get going but by October 2013 we were well into our rythm.
This season however we have been rather slow and ponderous, last week against Swansea it was clear that the game had 0-0 stamped all over it from half time.
TomorrowÂs game will ve a totally different kettle of fish, Sunderland will have the vocal backing, they will play more direct, more tempo and more physicality than Lille.
The Lille match strangely had a pre-season feel about it at times, the game became really slow in the second half.
Tomorrow we need to show another side to our game again.
37 Posted 08/11/2014 at 19:16:53
I disagree, Jim, it was about this time last year when we put in a lacklustre display at home to spurs and was very lucky to come away with a 0-0 draw. The following game we went to bottom of the table Crystal Palace and our play was slow and ponderous, and we drew 0-0 again.
It wasnÂt until late November - when we drew 3-3 - with RS that we started playing well IMO.
The results were better early on last season than this season but the performances were nothing special... and we did have a easier fixture list earlier on last season, with a much better pre-season as it wasnÂt a World Cup year.
38 Posted 08/11/2014 at 19:26:23
39 Posted 08/11/2014 at 19:41:35
The 3-3 draw with them in the derby kind of gave us some kind of spark, almost as though something hit us that day and we thought "hang on, we have just gone toe to toe in a derby match against a in-form Liverpool team, we can do anything we wish "
To be fair, last year in that month leading up to Christmas, the 3-3 derby, the 4-0 against the notoriously tough nut Stoke, the 21 year hoodoo at Old Trafford going up in smoke, and then the outstanding performance at the Emirates in the 1-1 draw had me feeling as proud to be a Evertonian as I have for some long time.
I take your point that last seasonÂs fixture lust at the start was much kinder but this season we have failed to beat Leicester, Palace, Swansea at home ( not a bad side but at home we should be expecting the win) .
The next month of games will determine for me what our ambitions for the season will be.
Failure to go on a winning run beating teams like Sunderland, Hull, West Ham (fair enough wonÂt be easy this season the Hammers) then we canÂt expect a top 4 challenge.
Its time to start clicking full time.
So far we have clicked only part time.
40 Posted 08/11/2014 at 20:00:18
41 Posted 08/11/2014 at 20:14:15
42 Posted 08/11/2014 at 20:11:27
The back 6 or so is east enough. Coleman in for Hibbert but otherwise unchanged. The front 4 is tougher.
Barkley or Naismith? Or etoo in the hole where he excelled vs burnley.
I think mcgeady will start as our quickest winger. Maybe give Nais a rest?
43 Posted 08/11/2014 at 20:49:23
44 Posted 08/11/2014 at 20:51:03
I think of how we fared last season. Look at our squad and the signings we made. The crap of the so-called challengers Â– apart from Chelsea Â– Man City and United are crap, Arsenal hot and cold, Spurs are shite and as regards of the RS, say no more!
Our pre-season was a disgrace. Our start of the season fitness was abysmal. If we had come out the traps, which we all expected and should have, at full pelt and as we finished last season, we could have been so close to Chelsea.
Martinez has a lot to answer for. If there is one season we could have done it, then itÂs this.
Southampton second Â– unbelievable!
45 Posted 08/11/2014 at 21:10:19
They canÂt be that good: look at the teams they played who have beat them. ThatÂs Spurs and the RS...
46 Posted 08/11/2014 at 21:20:10
And in-between... an away defeat to Â– guess who? Yes, Southampton. They have gone through a lot of changes since then, and Koeman is doing an amazing job. But letÂs see if it can be sustained. ThereÂs often a ÂlesserÂ, team that outperforms in the early part of the season and then falls away.
The thing to remember about the League Table, though, John, is that it never lies.
47 Posted 08/11/2014 at 21:18:43
I can handle the fact that you disagree, no problem.
48 Posted 08/11/2014 at 21:29:56
49 Posted 08/11/2014 at 21:36:37
50 Posted 08/11/2014 at 22:19:54
I'm sure there have been Sundays with two 1:30pm kick offs and two 4:00pm kick offs. I think this is the first time there have been three kicking off together.
51 Posted 08/11/2014 at 22:10:49
52 Posted 08/11/2014 at 22:39:31
53 Posted 09/11/2014 at 00:47:05
54 Posted 09/11/2014 at 01:23:49
55 Posted 09/11/2014 at 04:01:37
He played a good game and got a VITAL goal. I celebrated more than anyone at the bar. I will give you that. However, one good game and goal does not a good player make. How people can forget all the mishaps, lost passes, ineffectual shots that should beat the keeper but don't because they're too slow (Man United), not tracking back, exhausted at halftime... the list goes on.. Fucking bunch of sheep on this site. Does my head in.
56 Posted 09/11/2014 at 04:15:24
I think we are just finding form and really hope Coleman makes it back. He will be critical in getting 3 points in a "moving day" sort of weekend.
COYB onwards and upwards
57 Posted 09/11/2014 at 04:56:03
58 Posted 09/11/2014 at 06:05:05
Anyway, my XI would be
Subs: Joel, Barkley, Eto'o, Browning, Besic, Ossie, Galloway
59 Posted 09/11/2014 at 08:44:22
60 Posted 09/11/2014 at 08:54:55
I agree with what your saying. One good game and all of a sudden people seem to think he his wonderful. One person the other day even said he's still out BEST midfielder haha. Each to their own I suppose tho.
However, Thursday was by far our best performance this season and putting aside my personal views about players I would much rather see an unchanged side to keep momentum.
Barkley is our greatest talent but I hope bobby doesn't squeeze him in today just for the sake of it. No square pegs in round holes please. Gibson is the obvious choice to replace Barry if he doesn't make it as it's more like for like. Besic I think is more similar to McCarthy with his high energy, even though he seems to have a better passing range.
In saying that tho, I wouldn't be totally suprised to see Barkley play next to McCarthy today. Seem to recall something Martinez said that he would play more games there this season as that is his more natural positions long term. More of an 8 than a 10 sort of thing.
Either way same tempo as Thursday and we should have too much or Sunderland today. COYB!!
61 Posted 09/11/2014 at 08:55:00
Let's replace him them with a youngster who about 30 commander his belt.
Baaaaaa, Christopher.. baaaaaa
62 Posted 09/11/2014 at 08:44:36
Osman still has the quickest feet, touch and guile in the oppositions half - he also moves the ball forward and turns more and holds on and gets caught so again gives evidence for both sides ...
I love the guy ... and like Hibbert, Timmy and even pointing Pip have provided a base for our progress on small budget over the last 5 -8 years.
Some older ones will remember LFCÂs development being partly based on average but over performing players such as Brian Hall, Alun Evans, Joey Jones, Tommy Smith et al ..
We should respect and value all our great Everton servants that help the cause day in day out ...
Today could be a pivotal day in the development of this squad and this club over the next few seasons - lets get behind the team. COYBÂs!
63 Posted 09/11/2014 at 09:22:14
64 Posted 09/11/2014 at 09:56:40
And Sunderland arenÂt exactly a terrifying attacking force. Hibbo is a solid right back and a good defender, but doesnÂt offer the energy or attacking quality that suits our play, especially away from home, whereas, from what IÂve seen so far, I think Browning could...
Anyway fingers crossed and COYB!
65 Posted 09/11/2014 at 10:16:13
Also the Utd game and the Osman shot that you describe as being to slow, I notice you conveniently failed to mention that De Gea pulled off a world class save, I wonder why?
66 Posted 09/11/2014 at 10:44:43
'At some point we have to see what Browning is like instead of continuously loaning him out'.
He spent four weeks on loan at Wigan and that (along with his couple of cameos for Everton) is the sum total of his senior career so far.
68 Posted 09/11/2014 at 11:01:10
Yes, he played well against Lille but they were poor; we are a much better team without him. I would rather see Besic play instead of Ossie.
69 Posted 09/11/2014 at 11:07:32
70 Posted 09/11/2014 at 11:33:50
If we play with the same intensity and endeavour as we displayed against Lille, we should be very happy by this afternoon.
I would like to see the same team that started against Lille, get a run out, if Barry is injured, Mo can slot in there, I know Mc Geady is a bit if a liability, but I don't think we have much options in regards to attacking wingers or attack minded midfielders with the exception of Barkley.
Hopefully this is the day that kick starts a good run, and we could get a jump on the rest, and drive on, and see were we end up.
And hopefully we practiced corners this week !!!
71 Posted 09/11/2014 at 11:43:33
72 Posted 09/11/2014 at 12:01:42
73 Posted 09/11/2014 at 11:29:14
Just a few points that annoys me on TW. This constant looking back to last seasons table and where we were etc has no relevance to this season .This year Roberto decided to plan his pre-season differently, we had to cope with a lot of players at the WC, serious injuries, the Europa League and a difficult fixture list.
Then there's this infatuation with Southampton and West Ham and how they are doing, btw it was Villa for weeks ago. Some guy says Roberto has a lot to answer for as all our competitors have slipped up and we should be second in the league. Does this guy not realize that the reason a lot are slipping is because most big teams had a lot at the world cup. Only Schneiderlin and Valencia I can think off hand were at the WC so they are going to be fresher and easier to find form at this time of the season.
We are told we have a better squad so should be ahead of the Saints. Yes we have a better squad but Saints haven't had to test theirs yet as all their key players have been fit bar Rodriguez. Brian says they play the same tame all the time and don't look tired. Yeah once a week over 10 weeks after having the summer off, not a wonder.
Lets not consider how a supposed inferior team who is playing so well are doing better on us after a quarter of the season. Lets see what happens when they have injuries, how they do against the big teams, how they cope without Pelle or Tadic, and how all their foreign lads perform at Leicester in winter.
Let's look at us- if we win today we are 2 points of where we dream of ending the season, we have most of our squad fit, we are ripping up the Europa League, no-one likes playing us (except palace) we have a nice
fixture list until Xmas, players have hit form and the squad is brimming with confidence. COYB
74 Posted 09/11/2014 at 12:27:54
75 Posted 09/11/2014 at 12:37:11
76 Posted 09/11/2014 at 12:49:12
77 Posted 09/11/2014 at 12:50:58
This is a Fan's Forum and just think how boring it would be if we all agreed with everything the manager said and did. And by the way, still using the World Cup as the pillar of your argument seems like you are stuck in a time frame of convenience.
78 Posted 09/11/2014 at 12:57:55
79 Posted 09/11/2014 at 13:05:44
Don't worry Phil if you had been sitting beside me for the second half of the Leicester game when he didn't react to what was going on or when he took McGeady off and put Eto'o on the right to feed Lukaku against Swansea you might be a little shocked.
Bizarrely you and I don't agree on much but I do admire when someone forms their own opinions and has strength of convictions to stand by those opinions and that's whats great about this forum is to challenge each other. Its' the sing when were winning' brigade that I get frustrated with and perhaps why I'm so defensive of our manager as its the healthiest I've seen the club in my lifetime even behind the scenes as well as on the football front.
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