Another week led to another Everton victory with Sunderland the Toffees’ latest victim at Goodison Park. The 0-0 scoreline at half-time didn’t reflect a dominant first half performance from Everton, but if Sunderland thought they had survived the onslaught, Martin O’Neill’s side were sorely mistaken. Magaye Gueye, Steven Pienaar, Leon Osman and Victor Anichebe all struck as Everton ran riot after the interval despite some notable first-team absentees. Many saw this as a tight encounter yet Everton were rampant and could have scored more if they had been more clinical.
Pienaar was the standout performer in Everton’s midfield against Sunderland. When the South Africa international joined Tottenham Hotspur last summer he failed to settle at White Hart Lane and duly fell out of favour with Spurs manager Harry Redknapp. Since his return on loan to Goodison Park in January, he has looked a completely different entity. His game has been rejuvenated, and his flair and vision have thrilled the Everton supporters once again. His trickery caused Sunderland plenty of problems, getting on the score sheet and setting up a goal. The 30-year-old’s future is uncertain at Spurs and it should only be a matter of time before David Moyes re-signs Pienaar on a permanent deal.
The Toffees’ 4-0 victory over Sunderland was a significant landmark for Moyes – it was the Everton manager’s first league win against Martin O’Neill in ten attempts. Furthermore, Everton knocked Sunderland out of the FA Cup just two weeks ago and the Black Cats are beginning to detest the sight of the Toffees. The win reaffirms Everton’s stranglehold on seventh place while Sunderland remain stationary in ninth. Moyes’ record speaks for itself as he toils perennially to get his club into the top-half of the table with one of the league’s smallest budgets. The Scot has created something out of nothing at Goodison Park and with talk of him moving on in the summer, the Everton supporters will be hoping they can keep hold of their prize asset.
Everton appear to have all the momentum heading into next Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final between the two Merseyside clubs. The Toffees’ comprehensive victory over Sunderland will bolster their confidence ahead of the trip to Wembley. Moyes’ decision to rest some of his big name players underlined its importance, and he will have a fully fit side to choose from including Tim Cahill and Nikica Jelavić who were both rested. Everton will fancy their chances with Liverpool currently in desperate form following a run of one league victory in nine games.
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