Every one admires what David “Gollum” Moyes has achieved at Everton, on a tight budget and by playing good football. To quote erstwhile Black Cats manager Roy Keane, they are a ‘proper football club”. And what did he mean by that? To me he was saying that they are rôle models for teams like Sunderland, who have perhaps taken over their mantle this season. They manage to not just stay in the top flight, but generally to excel. They have however been blowing hot and cold in 2010-11, currently in 14th spot, just 3 points above the relegation zone, and Moyes was particularly scathing after the recent defeat at Bolton. This perhaps inspired the excellent FA Cup display at Chelsea this week, when a superb Baines fee kick at the end of extra time forced penalties, and the Blues were eliminated on spot-kicks.
For Sunderland, this is a chance to end their run of 3 defeats, which they have suffered despite playing well and scoring goals. The Cats have shown unusual defensive frailty against Chelsea, Stoke and Spurs, and keeper Craig Gordon is a doubt for Saturday. There was also a further blow in the shape of Michael Turner’s continued injury absence, following a setback to his training schedule after that serious knee injury in the corresponding SSOL fixture. On the brighter side there is a chance of Cattermole featuring; we have missed his tacking and will-to-win.
The Toffees are also injury-hit with Jack Rodwell, Tim Cahill, Marouane Fellaini, Victor Anichebe and Louis Saha all doubtful, leaving them short of fire-power.
Sunderland have not won at Goodison since 1996, when teenager Michael Bridges memorably won a new contract with 2 spectacular late goals in a 3-1 win under Peter Reid. I expect the rested Lads to celebrate Steve Bruce's new contract by turning it around and taking at least a point from this game.
©Lars J.S. Knutsen
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