High Octane Sunday

After an eventful Saturday saw the gaps widen for both the relegation and top four battles, Sunderland and Manchester United have it all to do to achieve their respective missions.

The later game sees Everton host a fiery Leicester side, who are unbeaten since Claudio Ranieri’s sacking.


Sunderland vs Manchester United

This is a must win match if Sunderland are to pull off another escapology act.

David Moyes won’t have John O’Shea available due to family bereavement.

Victor Anichebe  is set to make his return but Adnan Januzaj is unable to face his parent club.

Jose Mourinho is expected to recall Antonio Valencia to the starting line up. Paul Pogba is also likely to start after the midweek draw with Everton.


Not again?

In their 2013-14 escape, Sunderland lost at Tottenham around this point before going on a mad run to safety. Could we see something similar here with Man Utd in Tottenham’s position?

The Red Devils hold a superior record in this fixture but have lost on their last three trips to the Stadium of Light.

Moyes’ men can take heart from this and push on but scoring goals is a tough ask at minute.

Jermain Defoe is without a goal against clubs managed by Jose Mourinho so expect him to try and lay that demon to rest here.

Mackem fans will surely be fearing the result because the visitors are unbeaten in 20 league games. Zlatan Ibrahimovic has eight goals in his last seven away matches as well, just to further compound their misery.


Tough but doable

Manchester United might be the favourites but they have a packed month.

Surely they have to slip up at some point ahead of a tough run in which includes trips to Arsenal and Tottenham.

Sunderland on the other hand can afford to throw the kitchen sink at their opposition. They have two games in hand and can see them somehow winning here to kick start a fourth consecutive great escape.

Prediction: Sunderland 2-1 Manchester United

Result: Sunderland 0-3 Manchester United


Everton vs Leicester

Ronald Koeman will be hoping for an instant return to winning ways. Everton however have to overcome a resurgent Leicester team if want to avoid a July entry into Europe.

The Toffees are without several players including the suspended Ashley Williams here.

Morgan Schneiderlin could make a return after overcoming a calf issue.

Likewise, Leicester are without captain Wes Morgan and midfielder, Papy Mendy


Foxes targeting elsewhere?

With an away Champions League tie to Atletico Madrid on Wednesday, could the Foxes sacrifice their unbeaten form here to avoid fatigue?

With no FA Cup involvement and European qualification unlikely, the only way Leicester can get into Europe next season is by prioritising the Champions League over domestic form.

There is however hope for a point here because there has been 13 draws in this Premier League fixture.


Home sickness

Leicester have won just two away fixture this season domestically.

One of those wins came here in the FA Cup third round, back in January with a 2-1 win.

Under Ronald Koeman, Everton have lost just three home fixtures this campaign. Two of those defeats came in cup competitions whilst Liverpool beat them on Mersey Monday, back in December.


Any point will do

Craig Shakespeare could become the first English manage to win his first six Premier League matches as manager.

It might be a great achievement but expect to see him rest players here. The fact that this fixture has seen plenty of draws should please him because expect to see another one here.

Prediction: Everton 1-1 Leicester

Result: Everton 4-2 Leicester



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