Sunderland v Everton - Monday 20:00, Sky Sports 1
David Moyes faces his old club in very different circumstances from the last time when he was manager of Man Utd. Many felt his style was too defensive for the then Premier League Champions but there will be no such concerns at the Stadium of Light. Having managed to keep the disillusioned Lamine Kone from the clutches of their opponents on Monday, Sunderland will feel more confident of survival than before.
Their backline was much improved against Southampton, who were restricted to shooting from distance, with Papy Djilobodji faring much better than when partnered alongside John O’Shea. The addition of Javi Manquillo at right-back is also particularly important given the sluggishness of Daniel Love, especially against an Everton side with quick wingers.
Everton have started the season impressively under Ronald Koeman, and look good at the back themselves with the experienced pair of Ashley Williams and Phil Jagielka striking up an immediate understanding. Further forward Ross Barkley has impressed and was extremely unfortunate to miss out on Sam Allardyce’s first England squad, whilst Romelo Lukaku held the ball up well against Stoke and was unlucky not to score. The Belgian hasn’t scored in the league since early March but found the net for his country during the break and he does an important tactical job for the Toffees, who have goals in midfield to compensate.
Sunderland’s problems in this game are likely to reside not in defence but in midfield and up top. Fabio Borini and Sebastian Larsson are long term injury concerns and the team is utterly reliant on 33 year old Jermain Defoe to carry the attack. Everton remain unbeaten under Koeman, and we think this is unlikely to change at the Stadium of Light and are backing Everton/under 2.5 at 4.75 in what should be a game of few clear-cut chances. That certainly looks the value option as opposed to the straight away win, as six of the Black Cats last seven home defeats have come by 0-1 or 0-2 scores.