LONDON ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 14: Asamoah Gyan of Sunderland (L) celebrates with Jordan Henderson as he scores their second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Sunderland at Stamford Bridge on November 14 2010 in London England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Firstly I would like to echo Sibi's comments about the lack of updates, like Mikel Arteta's form we have gone missing recently. Apologies for that, but like the Blues we are about to come roaring back......
Sunderland at the Stadium Of Light is a tough one to call mainly due to the inconsistency of both teams. Will we see the Black Cats side who crumbled against Newcastle? Or the one who hammered Chelsea 3-0 at the Bridge?
Will the Everton that won the derby turn up? Or the one that laboured to a foruntate draw against Bolton?
Our poor start is continung to haunt us as last weeks all to inevitable defeat to Arsenal saw us fall into the bottom half of the table, depsite embarking on a seven game unbeaten run (the salt in the wound is the fact Liverpool somehow are above us, depsite being awful pretty much all season!!).
Turning pressure into goals is a key issue - our strikers have scored just twice between them all season. We dominated the Bolton game yet never really tested their 'keeper. We had a few more shots against the Gunners but by then they were sitting back on a two goal lead. I hope Yakubu and Beckford get the chance to play together some stage. The Yak looked to be finally getting some form but was suddenly dropped after the Blackpool game (unless he was injured, which I don't think he was) while Beckford deserves some reward for his goal against the Trotters and a decent showing from the bench last Sunday.
But with Tim Cahill playing so well in his 'behind the striekr' role Moyes is wary of dropping Cahill deeper (where, lets face it, he isn't that good) nor is he bold enough to play two out and out strikers with Cahill just behind. That would be my preferred option as I have confidnece in Jonny Heitinga in front of the back four as well as Jags and co at the back.
That won't happen though and I expect ther 4-5-1 to be trotted out against Sunderland on Monday. I have to admit I have a bad feeling about the game (similary to Sibi's feeling of dread last week) as Sunderland will be rocking after the Chelsea win and the presence of the TV cameras usually equals humiliation for us anyway.
We have only won one away game this season, an issue that needs to be addressed urgently, though we have won four of our last five visits to the Stadium Of Light, with last seaon's 1-1 draw the only blip.
Darren Bent looks set to return for Steve Bruce's men, meanign a potent strike force along with Asamoah Gyan. The Ghanian has shown signs of coming into his best form in recent weeks so he will have to be closely watched.
For Everton Fellaini is still suspended after his stupid red card last week while Anichebe and Osman remained sidelined.
Stats from the BBC:
• Everton have won 10 and drawn two of the last 12 meetings in all competitions with Sunderland.
• The Toffees enjoyed their joint-biggest Premier League win against any team when they beat Sunderland 7-1 in November 2007.
• Sunderland have only scored one goal in their last five Premier League games against Everton.
Have your say on this match
• Manchester United are the only team to have won at the Stadium of Light in the Premier League since Boxing Day 2009.
• The Black Cats have kept clean sheets in their last three home matches.
• They have only hit the target with 32% of their attempts at goal, the lowest percentage in the Premier League
• And they have only had four different goalscorers in the Premier League this season, fewer than any other side.
• Everton have lost only four of their last 24 Premier League matches.
• But they are winless in their last three outings.
• Tim Cahill has scored four goals in his last seven league appearances.