Robert Martinez’s side have only lost one of their 17 Premier League games and have displayed the kind of attractive, expansive football that few actually believed the Spanish manager could implement at Goodison Park. Sunderland, on the other hand, remain rooted to the bottom of the table, with only two wins in the last 10 games.
The big news for this one is that Leighton Baines is back in contention, having been out for five games with a broken toe. That Everton have won four of those five fixtures means that his inclusion may not be a given. Otherwise, Nikica Jelavic has recovered from a minor hamstring tweak and may see himself as a fit replacement for Romelu Lukaku, who is goalless in four.
Sunderland centre-half John O’Shea will be assess for fitness after damaging his shoulder in the 0-0 draw with Norwich though counterpart Wes Brown will definitely miss out. Brown begins a three-match ban following his straight red against the Canaries.
FFC Predicts: Everton 4-1 Sunderland
An outlandish prediction, we know, but Everton have looked rampant at home recently. Sunderland’s woes are exacerbated by the fact that they might be missing both Brown and O’Shea. Even with that defensive duo the Black Cats have the second worst defensive record in the division.
Everton vs Sunderland Pre-Match Stats
Romelu Lukaku has scored three goals in two Barclays Premier League appearances against Sunderland.
Sunderland’s victory over Everton in April ended a run of 16 without a win in the Premier League for the Black Cats against the Toffees (D4 L12).
The last time that Everton went unbeaten a home in the league for a whole calendar year was back in 1962. They have only managed this three times previously (1894, 1939, 1962).
Everton have lost just two of their last 36 Premier League home games (W24 D10 L2).
No team has picked up fewer away points than Sunderland this season (three, level with Crystal Palace)
Everton have not lost a Premier League game on December 26 since 2005 (W3 D3 since then).
This is only the second of the last 12 December 26 games that Sunderland have played away from home.
Everton’s haul of 34 points this season is only two fewer than Roberto Martinez managed in the whole of 2012-13 with Wigan.
Five of Everton’s last 11 Premier League goals have come from their full-backs (Coleman 3, Oviedo 2).
Sunderland have been given more red cards in Premier League games than any other side this season (5).