Sunderland - Everton Preview: Can the Black Cats secure their Premier League status?

Sunderland host Everton knowing a win would mean another year of top flight football on Wearside

Sunderland - Everton Preview: Can the Black Cats secure their Premier League status?
Image credit: VAVEL

The pendulum has swung back in the favour of Sunderland after a surprising 3-2 victory over Chelsea last weekend. The result now means a win against an under-performing Everton side will ensure they remain in the Premier League for another year.

The facts and figures

It isn't just Sunderland's battle with the drop that has been making the headlines this week. Jermain Defoe has been linked with a surprise call up to Roy Hodgson's Euro 2016 squad. The 33-year-old has scored in both his games against Everton since joining the Black Cats. One more goal from Defoe would make him the joint 10th highest Premier League scorer with 144 goals.

Sunderland have turned their form around, as they tend to do at the end of every season, and have only lost one of their last nine league games. Everton, on the other hand, have been on a downward spiral and have won only one of their last nine top flight games. 

Romelu Lukaku has now gone seven games without a goal for the Toffees.

A bit of hope for the travelling fans lies in the fact that Everton have scored six goals in a game five times in Premier League history, and two of these have came against Sunderland.

Can Sunderland pull off yet another great escape? | Photo source: Liverpool Echo
Can Sunderland pull off yet another great escape? | Photo source: Liverpool Echo

The scenario

Sunderland are now firmly in the driving seat when it comes to surviving the dreaded drop. The emphatic turn around on Saturday is looking like the final twist in what has been a dramatic relegation battle. Sunderland know three points means they cannot be caught by their rivals.

However, a draw or a defeat is not the end of the world. Either of these results would still leave Sunderland in pole position to avoid the drop, however, it would create a nervy last game of the season for all those involved.

Predicted XI

Lamine Kone has been passed fit after suffering a thigh injury last weekend. However, Billy Jones is set to miss out once again as he still recovers from his latest hip injury. 

It is likely Sam Allardyce will opt for an unchanged line up, as he looks to continue the good form of recent weeks. Fabio Borini will have secured his place in the starting XI for the final home game of the season, after his goal against his former club on Saturday.

Jeremain Lens is unlikely to feature for the majority of the match and this may mean he has played his final game at the Stadium of Light.