WILLIE Duncan (@Willie_Duncan) takes the reins for Monday night’s clash between Sunderland and Everton. What’s he backing?
Sunderland v Everton | Monday 20.00 | Sky Sports 1
It’s easy to forget that towards the end of last season, as they battled to beat the drop from the Premier League, Sunderland were solid, stuffy and very, very difficult to beat.
Under the stewardship of Sam Allardyce, the Black Cats lost just one of their last 11 league games as they held onto their Premier League status and laughed heartily as they watched their bitter rivals, Newcastle, slip through the trapdoor to the Championship.
Those days – rather like the days when current Sunderland boss David Moyes was considered as one of the hottest properties on the managerial market – seem a long, long time ago now.
Sunderland, who appointed Moyes as Allardyce’s successor, have picked up just one point from their first three Premier League matches thus far and if the natives weren’t restless before, they certainly will be after suffering a demoralising defeat against Middlesbrough in their most recent home match.
A quick glance at the calendar is unlikely to provide solace for Sunderland either for, remarkably, the Black Cats have failed to pick up full points from any of their last 22 Premier League matches contested in either August or September – a dismal run of results that stretches back to a win against Wigan in September 2012.
Everton, like the Black Cats, appointed a new manager this summer, with Ronald Koeman coming in after Roberto Martinez left Goodison Park under something of a cloud towards the end of last term.
The Toffees held Tottenham to a 1-1 draw at the start of the season and, since then, the men from Merseyside have gone from strength to strength – picking up three consecutive victories under the stewardship of the former Southampton manager.
With Romelu Lukaku warming up with two goals for Belgium on international duty last week, it would be easy to suggest that Everton will cruise to another three points on Monday night – a result that would intensify the pressure upon Moyes as Black Cats backers begin to lose their patience.
However, it would be safe to suggest that recent meetings between these two teams on Wearside have barely been classics; indeed, Everton have scored just 12 goals in their 15 Premier League trips to Sunderland – and there has been more than two goals scored in just two of the last 14 matches between the teams on the Black Cats’ home turf.
With that in mind, punters are advised to snap up the 4/5 (Marathon) quote for another tight, tense and low-scoring clash between these two teams ahead of Monday’s match at Stadium of Light.
Sunderland v Everton – Under 2.5 Goals (4/5 Marathon)