The outlook is a little more rosy for Sunderland and Everton than it was a couple of weeks back but neither side are fully at the races.
Two wins from Martin O’Neill’s first three games in charge of the Black Cats has seen them move away from the relegation zone while four points from six have cemented Everton firmly in mid-table.
The Wearsiders have left it late in those two wins against fellow strugglers Blackburn and QPR as Everton continue to struggle to find the back of the net, having scored just 17 goals in 16 games all season.
bwin’s 3Way football betting market has Sunderland as slight favourites at 27/20, with Everton at 2/1 and the draw at 11/5, but the Toffees have a fantastic record against Sunderland – they are undefeated in the past 13 meetings between the sides.
Now is usually the time David Moyes’ boys kick on after a slow start but they’ll have to get their game together sharpish if they are to avoid finishing outside of the top eight for the first time in six seasons.
Sunderland have only scored more than one goal six times this season, with Everton managing at least two strikes on five occasions. And with only 38 goals scored between them so far, this encounter is likely to be settled by the odd one.
Leon Osman looks most likely having scored two in two for Everton and the midfielder is a surprisingly lengthy 13/4 to score at any time at the Stadium of Light.
Also worthy of a mention for the visitors are the ever-dangerous Tim Cahill and Marouane Fellaini at 3/2 and 4/1 respectively, with set-piece expert and penalty taker Leighton Baines also at fours.
Like Everton, Sunderland have been scoring in dribs and drabs, although it has been easier to narrow down their sources of goals.
Stephane Sessegnon has looked lively in an advanced role of late and took his goal at Loftus Road with great aplomb. The former PSG man is 9/5 to score at any time and 13/2 for either the first or the last goal.
Elsewhere, self-proclaimed demi-god Nicklas Bendtner is on a hot-streak after shouldering one in at QPR for his first in seven and the Dane is 4/1 to register first on Monday.
However, the best bit of business is again reserved for Sunderland’s go-to man, Seb Larsson. The silky Swede has been one of the few bright spots since his switch from Birmingham and has weighed in with five priceless league goals so far – three of those being his side’s first goal – and he is at a lengthy 9/1 to strike first here.
Punters who sign up for a bwin account are entitled to a free £25 bet and putting that on a Larsson to break the deadlock at 9/1 could make you a tidy £250.
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