Everton

Everton vs. Sunderland: Date, Time, Live Stream and Preview

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - MAY 05:  Sylvain Distin of Everton scores a disallowed goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Everton at Anfield on May 5, 2013 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images
Richard LangfordCorrespondent IDecember 26, 2013

Everton's surprising run to the top five of the Premier League table isn't likely to be slowed on Boxing Day, as the Toffees will host bottom-feeding Sunderland

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? 

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 19: Leighton Baines of Everton is tackled by Jake Livermore of Hull City during the Barclays Premier League match between Everton and Hull City at Goodison Park on October 19, 2013 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Clive Bruns
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

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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