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Statistical Betting Preview: Everton vs Sunderland

Yet another moment of brilliance from Ross Barkley saw Everton claim a late win over Swansea in South Wales as they ran out 1-2 winners.

Roberto Martinez has said this week that Everton would not consider any offer for Ross Barkley at present, no matter what the valuation. Barkley’s star has continued to rise this season, with comparisons to some of the all-time great midfielders already being drawn. The 20-year old has apparently relished the chance to prove himself though, leading the Everton squad in a number of categories. He’s completed 434 passes in the opponent’s half according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, as well as racking up more attacking contributions (shots on goal, dribbles, crosses, assists) than any other Toffees player (74).

Crucial to the development of young talents such as Barkley is more experienced figures in the squad nurturing and educating them as they navigate plenty of early minefields in their career. Phil Jagielka will certainly be one such player at Goodison Park and the captain has been turning in some sterling displays of his own this term. He leads the Everton squad for total defensive contributions (blocks, interceptions, tackles won, clearances) with 222 to his name.

Everton fans will be hoping their may be a chance that Roberto Martinez might be able to persuade youngster Gerard Deulofeu to extend his loan spell at the club before returning to Barcelona. The gifted forward has excelled every time he has taken the pitch this season, quickly compiling the best shot accuracy rate of any Everton player. He’s worked the ‘keeper with 81.3% of his 16 attempts on goal.

A battling performance from Sunderland saw them claim would could turn out to be a crucial point as they drew 0-0 with Norwich last weekend. Unfortunately for Gus Poyet’s men, Wes Brown saw red for a careless lunge on Ricky van Wolfswinkel and his experience will be sorely missed over a testing Christmas period.

Jozy Altidore has the potential to be a tremendous asset for Sunderland, his physical style providing problems for any defence. However, it appears he will have to rework his technique somewhat when leading the line for the remainder of the season. According to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index he’s racked up more fouls than any other forward in the league with 30. That’s more than double his nearest rival in this regard (Robin van Persie – 14). Altidore is 15/4 with to score at any time this weekend.

Sebastian Larsson continues to be the main conduit through which the majority of the Black Cats play has flowed this season. He leads the Sunderland squad for passes completed in the opponent’s half with 287.

When given the opportunity, Modibo Diakite has acquitted himself well this season, something that could prove vital against Everton with John O’Shea, Wes Brown and Carlos Cuellar all ruled out. He currently has the best tackle success rate of any Sunderland player, winning 91.7% of his 12 attempted challenges this term.