Ross Barkley could be recalled for the visit of Sunderland
(Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Everton play their penultimate home match of the 2014-15 season this Saturday in the lunchtime kick-off against relegation-threatened Sunderland.
With eighth in the Premier League effectively out of reach — the Blues would need to win all three of their remaining games and hope Swansea lost all three of theirs — Roberto Martinez will be hoping his side can leapfrog over West Ham and Stoke into a respectable if unspectacular ninth-place finish over the last three games.
They will face a Black Cats team hoping to replicate their Houdini act of last season by escaping the drop to the Championship, with interim manager Dick Advocaat vowing to come to Merseyside to attack in order to secure what would be their first away win in the League since just before Christmas.
They will start the weekend in the bottom three and with the knowledge that they have a game in hand over the teams around them, although they must travel to Arsenal and Chelsea in their last two fixtures. In addition to their home clash with Leicester next weekend, Sunderland will likely view this trip to Goodison as their best hope to pick up a valuable result, particularly if they studied Everton's lethargic performance at Aston Villa last weekend.
Martinez his vowed to make amends for that display, particularly the awful first 45 minutes, and ensure that his team finish the season on a high so it will hopefully make for an entertaining encounter.
The manager will have the same squad from which to choose as he did at Villa Park last Saturday, with the addition of Luke Garbutt who has recovered from a bout of tonsilitis. Steven Pienaar is ruled out again with his latest muscle injury, joining Darron Gibson, Tony Hibbert and Bryan Oviedo — all of whom are out for the season — on the sidelines.
With Martinez intimating in his pre-match press conference that he did not see the last three games as a time for experimentation with his squad, he is likely to name a similar line-up to the one that started against Manchester United the weekend before last.
If so, that could mean a recall to the starting XI for Ross Barkley and Leon Osman, both of whom were named as substitutes last Saturday but came on to give greater purpose to the fightback that the Blues were trying to mount at 3-1 down. In that instance, Kevin Mirallas and Steven Naismith could make way and drop back to the bench alongside the likes of Aiden McGeady whom Martinez has suggested he wants to see get some playing time before the season is over.
Sunderland should be up for it as they look to build on an away draw at Stoke and a home win over Europe hopefuls Southampton in their last two games and Steven Fletcher's return from injury will give them a boost up front. They could be under-strength in defence, however, with both Wes Brown and John O'Shea set to undergo fitness tests on rib and knee injuries respectively.
Even given the visitors' dire need to win, a Blues side on its game should have too much for them but it remains to be seen which Everton shows up.
Kick off: 12:45pm
Referee: Lee Probert
Full details: ToffeeWeb Match Reports
Reader Comments (31)
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1 Posted 08/05/2015 at 07:00:45
2 Posted 08/05/2015 at 07:18:26
3 Posted 08/05/2015 at 07:25:02
Hope for the paying fans we give a good performance and a nice 3 points that could be worth millions.
4 Posted 08/05/2015 at 08:01:10
Sunderland also have something to play for, and surely wonÂt be gung-ho, so it will be a real test. Can we open up a team that parks the bus, and wants to hit us on the break?
I canÂt see the Goodison crowd putting up with the dross served up in the first half at Villa Park. It will be interesting to see if Roberto brings Ossie and Ross back into the starting eleven.
5 Posted 08/05/2015 at 08:45:08
I think itÂll be a 2-0 win.
6 Posted 08/05/2015 at 08:45:22
I can never quite bring myself to bet against us (Sunderland are 17/4) although Eugene recently put up a very cogent argument so to do purely on monetary grounds.
So my score goes onto a draw at 17/4 but having blown just short of 𧷤 on these bets this season, I have no real hope of getting it right.
7 Posted 08/05/2015 at 09:25:54
They have to play away to Arsenal AND Chelsea still so a point at Goodison probably wonÂt be enough in reality especially with a potentially positive result for Hull who play Burnley.
Sunderland know that a win takes them above Newcastle and if thatÂs not incentive then nothing will be.
You just wonder how arsed we are going to be really with a major lack of incentives ourselves, will our players really go in for those extra tackles tomorrow, will we run as much as Sunderland?
I agree, I think we will get done over 1-0 tomorrow.
8 Posted 08/05/2015 at 09:36:33
9 Posted 08/05/2015 at 12:06:12
10 Posted 08/05/2015 at 12:15:05
I have quickly learned that nothing shocks or surprises me with Martinez anymore.
In his first 6 months here I thought every word he spoke made perfect sense and we had a man with more football knowledge than most but around the turn of last year, January 2014, he seemed to totally have a personality bypass.
It all started with the pursuit of the already crocked Lacina Traore and ever since then, he has made bizarre decisions followed by even more bizarre quotes.
11 Posted 08/05/2015 at 12:18:40
I would love a repeat of the 2007 result with Ossie turning back the clock and scoring another dazzling mazey run goal.
0-1 it is then!!!!!!
12 Posted 08/05/2015 at 12:31:26
IÂm not going to bother renewing my Foxtel subscription after 9 years. I’m not prepared to waste money on watching the shite we have been subjected to this season. Based on the last 12 months I canÂt see anything changing.
Sorry Roberto has emptied my half glass full mentality.
13 Posted 08/05/2015 at 12:46:22
14 Posted 08/05/2015 at 13:17:57
15 Posted 08/05/2015 at 13:29:35
16 Posted 08/05/2015 at 17:01:36
I thought Sin Miedo disappeared when he talked up Crystal Palace before the game at Goodison last year when we blew our top 4 run. Up to that game, his pre-match talk was focussed on how good his team were and nothing else. What happened? I donÂt think we will ever know.
I thought this year he was fooling around with the football system big time and focussing on the Europa League as the back door to the Champions League. The Alcaraz manoeuvre blew that strategy out of the water so what on earth are we left with now?
IÂm totally confused and utterly deflated. Never had the experience before of supporting a team who blow hot and cold week by week. ItÂs doing my head in, it really is!
17 Posted 08/05/2015 at 17:40:52
18 Posted 08/05/2015 at 17:37:11
I have become so bored with Martinez & the way Everton are playing; it's bollocks. After last season, like all Everton fans, I really thought Everton were slowly heading back towards the good old times of the eighties; we can all carry on dreaming.
19 Posted 08/05/2015 at 18:11:52
20 Posted 08/05/2015 at 18:20:07
21 Posted 08/05/2015 at 19:26:21
22 Posted 08/05/2015 at 20:23:57
23 Posted 09/05/2015 at 00:21:24
24 Posted 09/05/2015 at 00:42:10
25 Posted 09/05/2015 at 00:57:00
26 Posted 09/05/2015 at 05:12:15
What is worrying too, is that they have ÂpreviousÂ in this situation, and have taken some high profile scalps in escaping the drop! We should be on our guard, but I donÂt regard this as an easy one.
27 Posted 09/05/2015 at 06:53:05
28 Posted 09/05/2015 at 06:59:19
Everton Â– by at least two goals.
29 Posted 09/05/2015 at 07:16:35
30 Posted 09/05/2015 at 07:55:17
31 Posted 09/05/2015 at 11:20:02
West Ham and the RS are above us in that respect anyway, right? Although the Shite look like getting in through the league so hopefully West Ham are on best behaviour and take the spot.
Predictions arenÂt worth the paper theyÂre written on, so IÂll go with a decent display from us, against a team who will fight for everything.
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