Everton look to strengthen grip on fourth against struggling Sunderland
Last Updated: 09/11/12 2:42pm
Everton have been firing in the shots this season but Sunderland must look to do more than just absorb punishment
Everton will be targeting three points when they host goal-shy Sunderland at Goodison Park on Saturday.
David Moyes' men currently occupy the final UEFA Champions League place after an impressive start to the season but after four straight draws the manager may feel a win is overdue.
There are few teams Everton fans would prefer to be coming to town given Sunderland's appalling record against the Toffees.
Sunderland have won none of their last 15 Premier League games against Everton and they'll need to sharpen up in front of goal if they are to change that record at the weekend.
Although Steven Fletcher has five goals for the club, the only other player to score for the Black Cats is Newcastle forward Demba Ba who netted an own goal in the Wear-Tyne derby.
Martin O'Neill knows that issue must be addressed if he is to improve the deteriorating mood around the club and will perhaps take comfort in his own personal record against Moyes.
The Northern Irishman has lost just one of his 10 Premier League clashes with the Scot and a win here could see Sunderland move back to the safety of mid-table.
The Toffees have few injury problems as they aim to strengthen their grip on fourth spot.
Darron Gibson is a only guaranteed absentee due to a thigh problem although he is closing in on a return to first-team action before the end of the month.
Tony Hibbert has lost his fitness battle and will join fellow squad player Victor Anichebe on the sidelines.
Sunderland striker Louis Saha is looking for his first goal for the club and will be hoping to find it against the team he left in January.
The 34-year-old is pushing for a start given that no Sunderland player has found the net for Martin O'Neill's side in the last five games.
O'Neill could look to freshen things up and that means David Vaughan and Fraizer Campbell could also come into the reckoning.
- Everton have won 11 and lost none of their last 15 Premier League games with Sunderland.
- The 4-0 victory by Everton in April over the Black Cats was the first time Martin O'Neill had suffered defeat in a Premier League head to head with David Moyes (W3 D6 L1).
- The Black Cats have managed just 12 shots on target in the Premier League this season, at least 21 fewer than any other Premier League side (Aston Villa and Reading 33).
Previous game's starting line-ups
- 1 Joel
- 23 Coleman
- 26 Stones
- 15 Distin
- 3 Baines
- 16 McCarthy
- 18 Barry
- 11 Mirallas
- 20 Barkley
- 22 Pienaar
- 17 Lukaku
Team taken from Everton vs Arsenal (The FA Cup sponsored by Budweiser) on Saturday 8th March 2014
- 32 Ustari
- 2 Bardsley
- 27 Vergini
- 16 O'Shea
- 3 Dossena
- 7 Larsson
- 33 Cattermole
- 14 Colback
- 23 Giaccherini
- 9 Fletcher
- 30 Scocco
Team taken from Sunderland vs Hull City (The FA Cup sponsored by Budweiser) on Sunday 9th March 2014
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