Last time out, Sunderland ran out 3-0 winners to secure their Premier League survival, relegating their neighbours Newcastle in the process.
Celebrations of that night are now long gone, though I’m sure any Sunderland fan would take great delight in reminding you about it, and everything we learned from Sunderland and Everton’s displays that night also may be long gone.
What did we learn from last time these side’s met?
Everton were a lost cause, but Ronald Koeman did not take long in sorting that out. The Everton that Sunderland play tomorrow will be nothing like the Everton they played in May. Similarly, the Sunderland that play tomorrow will be nothing like the Sunderland that played in May.
Teamwork makes the dream work
Sam Allardyce’s departure hurt Sunderland massively in the summer but rather than moping, the Black Cats must show they can get the job done. Against Everton, we learned that they can get a job done. The team spirit that the Wearisders showed that night was unbelievable, and with David Moyes placing huge emphasis on teamwork for the coming season, it is pivotal that they showcase that tomorrow.
The communication must be there, as Moyes and Everton alike will be out to prove something. Everybody did their job during that fateful night in May, from the goalkeeper to the strikers. The starting eleven must be switched on from the off tomorrow, and try and repeat their performance of last time out. It will be a difficult task but Everton are not yet world beaters under Koeman and Sunderland looked much improved at Southampton.
Can Kone make it up?
Lamine Kone was vital the last time out and the centre-back will be again, not least because of his Everton transfer saga. The defender supposedly left for Merseyside without the club’s permission, though whether it was games by his agent is unsure. Kone must repay the faith by Sunderland fans with a hearty performance. It’s clear the Ivorian can do it, he score a brace against the Toffees during their last visit to Wearside and he must show that it’s the red and white stripes he really wants to don.
The defender is a huge player for Moyes, as he brings really stability at the back and he can help Papy Djilobodji settle in. The backline will certainly have their work cut out as Romelu Lukaku, despite his goal drought, will boast a huge physical presence for Everton, with Gueye and Valencia also having a keen eye for goal.
In the pair’s last meeting, we also learned just how important Sunderland fans are in making the Stadium of Light a fortress. It was if the Roker Roar sucked Patrick Van Aanholt’s opening free-kick into the back of the net, and the Mackems must be loud and proud again tomorrow night.
The Wearsiders had a difficult summer and a transfer window that you may describe as uninspiring but with the likes of Adnan Januzaj, Javier Manquillo, Didier N’Dong and Djilobodji arriving, they have certainly strenghtned. The red and white army must get behind Moyes tomorrow, and forget their painful defeat against Middlesbrough, as they will be key to any points gained.