Everton have just one loss in their 17 Premier League outings this season, although they do have seven draws.
The Toffees are only getting better. They will enter this match having won their last two outings, and three matches ago they earned an away draw with Arsenal.
There is little reason to think they won't win their third straight game.
Sunderland have been abysmal this season. They have just two wins on the year. Those two wins, however, have come in their last 10 outings. So at least this team is still fighting.
Also, Gus Poyet's squad has looked better in cup competition. So there is hope that this struggling side will find some sort of momentum this year. They will attempt to get that started on Boxing Day at Goodison Park.
Date: Dec. 26
Start Time: 10 a.m. ET/3 p.m. GMT
Location: Goodison Park, Liverpool, England
Live Stream: NBC Sports Live Extra
Key Storyline: Will Leighton Baines return to the pitch?
I think it's safe to say Everton manager Roberto Martinez won't be boxing up the gift of Leighton Baines' return. The star left-back has been sidelined with injury (broken toe) for the past five games, but Martinez confirmed his availability for this match:
Bryan Oviedo did an outstanding job filling in for Baines. Still, Baines return will be a boost. Here is Martinez, as quoted by Alex Richards of the Mirror,
Of course we have missed him. You can't underestimate the quality of Leighton and his experience, know-how and what that represents.
We have had an incredible replacement in Bryan Oviedo, he has been terrific. But you want players in good moments of form to be available.
We are desperate to have Leighton Baines back and desperate for Bryan to be in that moment of form. We need to make sure we use that well for the good of the squad.
Playing against Sunderland gives Baines a nice return point. Sunderland aren't likely to put much pressure on Everton's defence.
Prediction: Everton 2, Sunderland 0
Everton will continue their fine form and push Sunderland further into misery.
The Toffees have allowed just seven goals to be scored against them at Goodison Park. Meanwhile, Sunderland have netted just two away goals all season. They will remain stuck on two after this one.
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