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Is Moyes the man to stop Everton?

Frank Monkhouse | 25 February 2017

Former boss back at Goodison on Saturday

Time is running out for David Moyes to keep his Sunderland side in the Premier League, and he returns to Goodison Park on Saturday looking to stage a smash-and-grab on three vital points.

Victory for The Black Cats could lift them free of the drop zone, and wouldn’t it be fitting if the former Toffee gaffer, who also had a spell in charge of Manchester United, got the loot in front of the fans who once worshiped the ground he walked on?

Since leaving Everton in 2013, the 53-year-old Glaswegian hasn’t had a bit of luck, failing miserably at Old Trafford, despite being Sir Alex Ferguson’s choice to replace him when retiring. That was followed with another ill-fated, and thankfully short, spell leading Real Sociedad in Spain, before returning to English football in an attempt to save Sunderland.

Odds have relegation a foregone conclusion

The gaffer has failed on that front so far, and enters game 26 of the season rock-bottom of the pile. There are forces working behind the scenes that seem to be blocking the manager at every turn, and many experts in the game predicted he would have had enough and walked away by now, but the stubborn Scotsman is not for throwing the towel in, and has just two points to find to match Leicester City and safety. Coral odds compilers have Sunderland nailed-on at 1/5 to take the plunge.

Moyes will be welcomed back through the front door on Saturday, and will be accompanied by a host of faces very familiar to home fans, including Jack Rodwell, Juleon Lescott, Steven Pienaar and Victor Anichebe, who all plied their trade at Everton over the years.

Sunderland v Crystal Palace - Premier League - The Stadium of Light

Defoe loves a goal at Goodison Park

Defoe boasts form at Goodison

The standout in an otherwise miserable season for Sunderland fans has been old-favourite Jermain Defoe, who has scored five of his side’s seven goals in all competitions so far this year. He is no stranger to a goal at Saturday’s venue either, and was seen on the scoresheet for Sunderland at Goodison in a 2-0 away win in 2015, and a 6-2 loss here last season.

Defoe, now 34-years-old, is showing no signs of slowing up either and has rattled in 14 this season already, putting him level with Harry Kane in fifth-place in the top-flight’s leading scorers chart. He will be key to any success Moyes can get his hands on here, and Coral punters can back Defoe to score anytime at 2/1, which looks a touch of value, while more confident backers can have him at 7/1 to net first. Defoe to be the first scorer of the day wearing a Sunderland shirt is 5/2, and he is 10/1 to celebrate by eating a pie. Ok, we made that last bit up, but his price does look tasty.

Lovers of an upset, fans of David Moyes, and those who enjoy siding with the stats, will be intrigued to know that Sunderland have won two of their last three visits to Goodison Park, both without conceding a goal. That makes Coral’s 13/2 about an away win look massive, while a win to nil is sure to put a smile on your face, at 14/1 with us.

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