Sunderland predicted XI - Everton: Allardyce likely to remain unchanged yet again

Will this be Sunderland's most likely starting 11 for their final home game of the Premier League season against Everton?

Sunderland predicted XI - Everton: Allardyce likely to remain unchanged yet again
Image credit: Getty Images

After some great performances to put themselves on the verge of safety, Sam Allardyce may well go with the same Sunderland starting line-up for the seventh straight game.

Goalkeeper

A lot of the headlines from Saturday's huge 3-2 win over Chelsea went to the goalscorers because of the quality of their efforts. But the likes of Jermain Defoe wouldn't have had the chance to be a hero if it wasn't for the performance of Vito Mannone in goal to keep Sunderland in the match at only 2-1 down.

The Italian 'keeper made two really crucial saves early in the second half to deny Diego Costa, who had already beaten him earlier in the game after a fortunate break for Chelsea. Both were clear-cut chances, but on each occasion Mannone denied the Spanish international by first getting down well to his left and then closing the angle on the striker.

The former Arsenal man has done really well to establish himself as the number one again and now his finally getting the credit he deserves at the back end of the season.

Defence

By no means has this been the perfect unit over the course of the season - and in recent games for that matter - but Allardyce has slowly and surely got DeAndre Yedlin, Younes Kaboul, Lamine Kone and Patrick van Aanholt to improve as a back four. They look somewhat solid in order to support the forward players, who've proved they can score goals.

The full-backs Yedlin and van Aanholt are still, arguably, better going forward than defending with the pace they've got - which showed on Saturday with an assist each - but they've been vital to the team's success. With such consistent performances, it hard to see anyone else filling these positions right now.

Meanwhile, in the middle, the partnership of Kone and Kaboul has blossomed for the most part as Allardyce has made the latter look a better player than he is rated by most. On the other hand, Ivory Coast international Kone has been a revelation after his January arrival with his strength both on and off the ball; he was taken off on Saturday but is fit for this one so should play.

Will Sunderland be celebrating survival on Wednesday evening? | Image credit: Getty Images
Will Sunderland be celebrating survival on Wednesday evening? | Image credit: Getty Images

Midfield

Not everyone on Wearside is sold with the three defensive midfielder set-up, but nobody can really argue with the results. With Lee Cattermole, Yann M'Vila and Jan Kirchhoff playing together, Sunderland have only lost to champions Leicester City in the past two months.

By playing in this unique trio, each of them has seen their individual performances improve. Cattermole has operated a bit further forward, which has shown people there is more to his game than tough tackling. While Kirchhoff's showings in recent weeks seen him win the PFA Fans' Player of the Month award for April.

However the jury is, perhaps, out on M'Vila's place in the team as he has been more inconsistent than the other two. Despite this he has undoubted quality with where he has been in his career, and it's enough right now to keep him in the team just before his season-long loan is up.

Attack

The facts can tell you all you need to know about this forward trio as Fabio Borini, Wahbi Khazri and Defoe all scored in the Chelsea win in different ways. Khazri will be disappointed to only have two goals to his name since his mid-season arrival, but his second strike for Sunderland was worth 10 goals with it's quality and importance. His angled volley a goal of the season contender, no doubt.

Then with things looking bleak on Saturday the adopted Mackem Fabio Borini stepped up and got his team back into the game with a calm touch and solid strike, slightly deflected, which got Sunderland level. However, it was once again Defoe who stole the show with a controlled first touch and blink of an eye finish both with his right foot to send the Stadium of Light wild.

Sunderland don't want to imagine where they'd be without Defoe's 15 league goals this season, they are just grateful to have what their relegation rivals don't; a top class goalscorer.

There are a couple of players who could be considered as breaking into the team, with the likes of Duncan Watmore in attack and Sebastian Larrson in midfield doing well off the bench recently. But why would Allardyce break the wave of momentum this team currently has?

Predicted XI

(4-3-3) Manonne; Yedlin, Kone, Kaboul, van Aanholt; M'Vila, Cattermole, Kirchohff; Khazri, Defoe, Borini.