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Reyna (76')  (0-0)  
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Sunderland v Everton:
Prior League Games
 Sunderland 43
 Everton 15
 Draws 11
 Sunderland 3
 Everton 0
 Draws 0
 Last Season:
 Sunderland 2-0 Everton


A weakened and barely fit Everton team that included Gascoigne, Tal and Moore, with Chadwick on the bench, as the match started despite heavy snow in the Northeast.  A Yank on each side, with Claudio Reyna playing for Sunderland.

Sunderland were first out of the gate, challenging a weakened Everton team.  Mad Dog Gravesen's head wound seemed to have affected his frontal lobe as he hacked down Gavin McCann and got himself in the Ref's notebook with a yellow card after just 3 mins.

Naysmith was the next into the book for arguing with the referee on 18 mins as Everton came under increasingly persistent pressure from a keen Sunderland who started brightly.

Gravesen again attracted the attention of the referee with another bad tackle that earned him what must have been a final warning.  In one of Walter's best, if most obvious decisions of the season, Gravesen was substituted for his own good by Alexandersson.

Everton had some good moments but Sunderland had most of the goalmouth action, with both teams having shots cleared off the line.  Everton finished the first half strongly, pushing the Black Cats back into their lair.

Into the second half, a good Sunderland attack saw Phillips and Reyna both having shots well saved by Simonsen in quick succession.

Some good pressure form Everton led to a few corners in succession, as the Blues started to feel they could perhaps get something from this game...

But it was not to be as Reyna finally scored on his home debut, after Simonsen had saved well.  This happened just minutes after Jesper Blomqvist finally made his debut, coming on for a tiring Idan Tal.  And his name was also in the referee's book just a few minutes later as the game started to slip out of Everton's control.

And that's how it ended; a pity, as it would have been nice if the weakened but lively Everton had rolled the Cats over.  Ah well... next up, Manchester United, who seem to have recovered their form just in time for their visit to Goodison Park on Boxing Day... 

M A T C H    F A C T S
 Sports Match Info  
  FA Premiership 2001-02, Game 18
3:00pm  Saturday 22 December 2001
Stadium of Light, Sunderland
Referee: Barrie Knight (Orpington)
Att: 48,013
Position: 9th
Debut: Blomqvist
Line-ups Subs not used
Sunderland Sorensen, Haas, Gray, McCann, Thome, Williams, Reyna, McAteer, Arca, Quinn (78' Kyle), Phillips. 
Macho, McCartney, Thirlwell, Kilbane. 
Everton: Simonsen; Watson, Xavier, Unsworth, Naysmith; Gemmill, Gascoigne, Gravesen (22' Alexandersson), Tal (74' Blomqvist); Moore, Radzinski (88' Chadwick).  Gerrard,   Cleland. 
Unavailable:  Campbell, Ferguson, Pembridge, Pistone, Stubbs (injured); Cadamarteri (on trial at Barnsley); Nyarko (on loan)  Suspended: Weir, Pistone 
Playing Strips Formations
Sunderland: Red & white shirts; black shorts; red socks 4-4-2
Everton: Royal Blue shirts; white shorts; blue socks. 4-4-2
  Yellow Cards Red Cards
Sunderland: McAteer (58') --
Everton: Gravesen (3'), Naysmith (18'), Gascoigne (61'), Blomqvist (83') --
Premiership Scores
Charlton 0-1 Blackburn
Derby 3-1 Aston Villa
Leeds 3-4 Newcastle
Leicester 1-1 West Ham
Man Utd 6-1 Sotton
Middlesbro P-P Fulham
Sunderland 1-0 Everton
Tottenham 1-2 Ipswich
Chelsea 5-1 Bolton
Liverpool 1-2 Arsenal

Premiership Table
Pos Team Pts
1 Newcastle 36
2 Arsenal 33
3 Liverpool 33
4 Leeds 32
5 Man Utd 30
6 Chelsea 30
7 Tottenham 27
8 Aston Villa 27
9 Everton 23
10 Fulham 23
11 Sunderland 23
12 Blackburn 22
13 Charlton 22
14 Bolton 21
15 West Ham 21
16 Middlesbrough 19
17 Southampton 16
18 Derby 16
19 Leicester 15
20 Ipswich 12
 After 23 December 2001
M A T C H     R E P O R T S
Everton Web Sites
ToffeeWeb Match Summary Match Report
Everton-Mad Match Report
Blue Kipper Match Report
Everton Fans' Reports
No reports filed...
Links to Other Media Reports
Electronic Telegraph Match Report
BBC Sport Match Report
FA Premier Match Report
Sky Sports Match Report
Sporting Life Match Report
SoccerNet Match Report
The Sunday Times Match Report
The Observer Match Report
The Guardian Match Report
The Independent Match Report
The Times Match Report
Liverpool Echo Match Report
Daily Post Match Report

Match Preview

The Makems, at their so-called (by them) Stadium of Light.

Last year, this game saw Everton at their very best and most unreliable.  Previous wins over Arsenal and Chelsea had left us dreaming of a year spent in the top half (sound familiar?).  We visited Sunderland with the Sky cameras in tow and started as we hoped we'd go on: flowing football, precision passing, carving the Sunderland defence apart, Gemmill down the flank to Danny, cross to Tal, open goal, bury it we scream....  

One Andy Cole moment later and the ball is going for a throw-in, and Tal's hopes of making a mark on the Premiership have ended.  One more scuffed shot was his sum total until he was replaced by Gravesen and we have hardly seen him since not one to hold a grudge is our Walter!

The game finished 2-0 with Alex Rae scoring after a session of ping-pong and Phillips tucking away a loose ball when Gerrard was wrong-footed from a deflected Quinn shot.

The following game possibly saw the nadir of Walter's tenure with a 5-0 defeat by Man City and then Coventry came to Goodison on Boxing Day where Myhre granted them two Christmas presents and we lost 2-1.

Let's pray that this Christmas does not follow that!  The previous Boxing Day saw one of my favourite days at Goodison in recent years when we beat Sunderland 5-0 so let's hang on to that memory to buoy our hopes.

So,after my views of Christmas past, what of Christmas present?

Sunderland appear a team wracked by internal doubt and on the pitch seem a patchwork of quality players and those destined for the 1st Division.  Reidy has refused to splash the cash big (and I mean "big" by European standards not Everton's recent standards) which has left him with a number of "continental and beyond" stars that haven't managed to gel at all this year.

They sit in 13th place with 20 points which, for a team averaging gates over 50,000 that has finished in the top 8 in the last 2 years, is quite a failing.

Kevin Phillips is, as always, their main threat and a better balanced striker I am yet to see.  A player able to poach, play off a big man's knock-downs, score from 20 yards or race past Wes Brown... he appears to have everything.

Sunderland's failings may simply be due to their reliance on the old war horse, Nial Quinn.

Quinn has been a tremendous servant to Sunderland.  Going there when they were languishing in the 1st Division and seemingly going nowhere, Quinn immediately struck up a great partnership with Phillips that revitalised both Sunderland and himself.  Not only does Quinn win the headers, he puts the ball where it needs to go.  Very rarely would you see Quinn aimlessly flick a ball on, rather it is placed.  Usually, he prefers to push back the defender and then knock the ball back towards his own players thereby cushioning it in front of them with precision.  If Duncan would watch him for a few games he could improve his game immeasurably.  Like Dunc, Quinn was also rather tasty on the deck.

Reidy's biggest failing however has been to not replace Quinn.  He's not the force he was and Phillips is suffering because of it.  Even without Weir (suspended), I fancy Xavier and Stubbs (please make sure you are fit) to look after Quinn and starve Phillips of his supply.

Sunderland's midfield has been bypassed for years yes I do argue they have played long-ball for the last 5 years and, as the long ball has failed, their lack of guile and ability has become apparent.  Schwarz is a shadow of the player that Arsenal signed.  Arca flatters but since his first months has rarely supplied.  McAteer - headless.

Gavin McCann is probably their best midfielder and is the one we have to stop as he obviously would love to put on over on Walter.  Surely Walter's worst sale?  He can't even have seen him play and didn't give him a chance despite Kendall's assertion that he was the most complete midfielder he had seen for his age.

Michael Gray is their other quality player and really Nick will need to be at his best to keep him pushed back.  If he can do that, then there should be little penetration from Sunderland and long balls into our box are just what Xavier and Stubbs will want we even have a keeper who may come and claim a few!

Upfront, well who knows?  There are rumours that Dunc may travel but I would think it would be far more likely that they keep him for the bench against United on Boxing Day.  Which means Pepsi or Watson; the decision may be dependent on Pistone's fitness.

Can we do them?  For some odd reason call it the remaining alcohol from last night's firm Christmas Party I think we can.  We have to go there believing we can; if we can keep them quiet in the first half, then there is no reason why we can't nick one in the 2nd.

It must be time for Alexandersson to get scoring particularly as I have just dropped him from my Fantasy Football team so I'm going 1-0 and a Happy Christmas to the Blue Boys!


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