Sunderland vs. Everton Preview

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Published: 21/12/2011

There should be a fair degree of anxiety circulating around the terraces of the Stadium of Light on Boxing Day as Sunderland and Everton clash in the Barclays Premier League with a possible relegation fight on the cards for both clubs.

With matters continuing to be tight in and around the bottom half of the table, the Black Cats and the Toffees could easily be dragged into trouble, especially if one or two of the main strugglers manage to pick up some points heading into the Christmas period.

Sunderland fans will not have expected such a poor start to the campaign considering the amount of money which has been ploughed into the squad throughout the last couple of seasons.

Steve Bruce ultimately paid the price for being unable to spark a push for the European places and it is now Martin O’Neill who will be hoping to initiate a swift revival. The Irishman carries a wealth of Premier League experience and is undoubtedly the kind of ‘stabilising’ manager which the club needs.

It is imperative for O’Neill however that the club has a productive Christmas and New Year – but the same also goes for struggling Everton and long-time boss David Moyes.

Moyes has had to make the best of what he’s had in Merseyside as a lack of investment in the club has subsequently impacted on the Scot’s transfer kitty which has been more akin to a piggy bank than a war chest.

Although loyal chairman Bill Kenright has insisted that he is desperately searching for investment, Moyes has appeared frustrated at the situation on a number of occasions and his once untroubled relationship with Kenright may now be feeling a certain amount of strain – something which could also cast doubt over his own job which has been declared safe by Kenright many times in the past.

Although on paper this fixture perhaps looks the drabbest out of the Boxing Day schedule, it could turn in to a real thriller depending on how both clubs approach it.

If Everton decide to set up conservatively and try to knick it late then it could definitely be a scrappy affair. But if the visitors, like O’Neill and Sunderland, feel it is a must win game, then this could be a real prospect as both clubs will be eager to put as much daylight as possible between themselves and the bottom three before the new year.

Both sides look fairly evenly matched - and it is hard to avoid looking at the draw which will at least provide far juicier odds than some of the other fixtures on December 26 which are heavy odds on for the home win.

If either side is to emerge victorious, it may just be Sunderland, as they will still be buoyant following O’Neill’s arrival and also hold home advantage.

There is a slight notion that the Geordies have already slumped to their worst, whilst Everton may still have further to fall unless the highly respected Moyes can work his magic.


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