Premier League preview: Everton v Sunderland
By Football News
David Moyes' men are clinging onto fourth spot in the English Premier League after four straight draws, including three 2-2 results.
If not for the draws – against Wigan, Queens Park Rangers, Liverpool and Fulham – Everton would be right in the title race.
But there is opportunity to stay in touch, beginning with the clash against struggling Sunderland at Goodison Park.
With just one league win, Sunderland sit four points clear of the relegation zone but are winless in their past five matches in all competitions.
The reliance on star signing Steven Fletcher for goals has become unhealthy and must be rectified or Martin O'Neill's men will find themselves battling for their spot in the top flight.
Fletcher has scored five of their six league goals this season, with the only other coming courtesy of a Demba Ba own goal in the 1-1 draw against Newcastle.
O'Neill, who is already under pressure, is confident the goals will come and – with one of the best defensive records in the league – it would likely help Sunderland climb the table.
Sunderland went down 1-0 to Aston Villa last time out but had their chances, something which pleased O'Neill.
His attacking players have been unable to breakthrough and not for lack of trying.
Louis Saha, Stephane Sessegnon, Adam Johnson and Sebastian Larsson – along with Fletcher – are among the attacking weapons at his disposal.
They get another chance against Everton, who have kept just two clean sheets in the league this season.
But while O'Neill has struggled to find different outlets in front of goals, Moyes has a range of players capable of finding the net.
Marouane Fellaini (five league goals) and Nikica Jelavic (four) are his standouts, while Kevin Mirallas and Steven Pienaar are always threatening.
Mirallas and Pienaar have regularly provided the forwards with chances this campaign and that can be expected to continue against Sunderland.
Sunderland must start scoring eventually and it may be against Everton, who would expect to get three points on Saturday.