Sunderland have endured highs and lows in the last three visits to Goodison Park.
Rare away successes against Everton in 2013-14, when Gus Poyet was in charge, and 2014-15, as Dick Advocaat steered the Red and Whites towards survival, boosted spirits, but Sunderland, under Sam Allardyce, suffered a 6-2 mauling there last season.
Here we look back at the Black Cats’ last six league matches at Goodison.
Everton 6 Sunderland 2
November 1, 2015
Sunderland’s hopes of a third successive win at Goodison Park were dashed by a second-half horror show as the Toffees hit their visitors for six, with Arouna Kone an unlikely hat-trick hero for Everton
The game started badly for new boss Sam Allardyce - despite Patrick van Aanholt rattling the home post early on - as Gerard Deulofeu needed just four minutes to make the breakthrough, shooting under Costel Pantilimon after latch onto a clever ball over the top by Kone.
Kone doubled the lead, firing out of the reach of Pantilimon after a good link-up with Romelu Lukaku, before Sunderland were given hope in the run-up to half-time when Jermain Defoe, sending a brilliant effort into the corner of the net after getting away from Gareth Barrty .
Sunderland levelled matters early in the second period when Steven Fletcher rose well to head home a van Aanholt cross from the left.
But hopes of a point, or better, for Allardyce in his third match in charge of the Black Cats, were soon dashed.
Everton regained their lead when Sebastien Coates turned a Deulofeu cross into his own net, and they added a killer fourth goal soon after as Deulofeu’s fine pass set up Lukaku to round Pantilimon to score with ease.
Kone hit his second goal, and Everton’s fifth, two minutes later, driving an effort into the top corner after being set up by James McCarthy.
The ex-Wigan man completed his treble with a header from Lukaku’s cross on 76 minutes.
Everton 0 Sunderland 2
May 9, 2015
Danny Graham ended his wait for a first Sunderland goal at the 28th time of asking to secure a huge win in the battle for Premier League survival.
After two-and-a-half years without finding the net in red and white, Graham’s goal - coupled with Jermain Defoe’s similarly fortuitous effort - made it back-to-back league wins for the first time all season for Sunderland, in what could potentially be a defining moment in the relegation battle.
Following a dreadfully dull first half, when Sunderland were indebted to three superb saves from Costel Pantilimon, the Black Cats went ahead against the run of play early in the second half when Jordi Gomez’s shot deflected off Graham and left Tim Howard stranded.
Everton piled on the pressure in the exchanges which followed, with Sunderland sitting perilously deep and indebted to several brilliant blocks from Wes Brown and Sebastian Coates, while James McCarthy hit the post for the Toffees.
But Sunderland doubled their advantage with five minutes to go - again with a slice of luck - when Adam Johnson’s cross deflected off Seamus Coleman and then Jermain Defoe before bobbling into the net.
Veteran defender Wes Brown said: “We managed to contain them and got a few breaks, which we probably haven’t had all season.
“They had a lot of control of the game, but we’ve always said that we have to work hard, win battles and that’s what we did throughout the game.
“We got the chances in the end and a nice delection from Danny, and then the second one off JD.
“But we’re delighted to get the points, no matter how they go in.
“Danny has been tremendous in the last couple of games and he’s deserved his goal to be fair.
“We’ve had a few of them against us this season, so it’s nice to get one for us.”
Everton 0 Sunderland 1
December 26, 2013
Sunderland secured their first away win of the season after ending their 17-year hoodoo at Goodison Park.
Ki Sung-Yueng’s first half penalty ended 10-man Everton’s unbeaten home record in 2013 as the Premier League’s basement boys secured a huge result in the battle against the drop.
Ki’s spot-kick came after he had been brought down by Tim Howard, with the Everton keeper earning a red card as a result.
Sunderland could have added a second goal in the closing stages of the opening 45 minutes, yet Everton piled on the pressure after the break.
Vito Mannone’s made several stunning saves, while Fabio Borini produced an unbelievable goal-line clearance to give Sunderland a first away win outside of the North East since January.
On-loan Ki told the Echo: “There was pressure on the penalty, but I have some experience of taking penalties, so it was no problem for me.
“I won the penalty so I wanted to take it.”
The South Korean added: “Everton are a top team and even though they only had 10 men, they could still hurt us going forwards in the second half.
“I think Vito (Mannone) was great, as was the whole defence. Everyone played their part.”
Everton 2 Sunderland 1
November 10, 2012
Sunderland’s winless run reached six in all competitions, but there were signs of hope for boss Martin O’Neill at Goodison Park.
Despite losing captain Lee Cattermole to a hamstring strain before kick-off, Sunderland made a forceful, confident start and could have been two goals up in 10 minutes, with Steven Fletcher and Stephane Sessegnon both going close.
Sessegnon looked sharp and eager and the touch, movement and close control were all on display again for what seemed like the first time in months.
All the performance lacked was a goal and that duly arrived seconds before half-time when Everton half-cleared a corner and the smart-thinking Craig Gardner lofted a ball over the defence where Adam Johnson nipped past a dozing Leon Osman to smash a left-footed shot through Tim Howard from six yards out.
It was Sunderland’s first goal in almost nine hours of football and, incredibly, the first time any Sunderland player other than Fletcher had got on the scoresheet in the Premier League all season.
The Wearsiders looked comfortable, even as Everton upped the tempo in the second half, but the home side levelled 13 minutes from time as Marouane Fellaini received the ball on the edge of the area and, with the visiting defence on its heels just for one instant, fired a low shot from 17 yards through John O’Shea’s legs and into the bottom right corner of Simon Mignolet’s goal.
It was a perfect piece of pick-pocketing, but there was even more vision displayed by the big Belgian in the creation of his side’s winnert two minutes later when, with his back to goal, he curled the ball into the danger zone with the outside of his right boot – through O’Shea’s legs – and Nikita Jelavic, on the left of goal, lifted a cushioned shot over the Sunderland keeper with admirable aplomb.
Sunderland did not give up and might have forced an equaliser, but Carlos Cuellar’s goal-bound close-range pile-driver smashed straight into team-mate Gardner.
Everton 4 Sunderland 0
April 9, 2012
Everton hit four second-half goals to add to Sunderland’s misery, just two weeks after knocking the Black Cats out of the FA Cup quarter-finals.
The opening goal came in the 52nd minute. Phil Bardsley blocked a corner with a solid header at the near post, only for it to reach Steven Pienaar, on the right, who swept the ball to Leon Osman, straight in front of goal.
Osman connected perfectly with a powerful shot which Simon Mignolet was brave in blocking with his chest. However, the ball rebounded out to the left of goal, where youngster Magaye Gueye crashed home a rising left-foot shot through Sunderland’s defence for his first goal for the club.
Sunderland failed to even hold on to the ball well and lacked any real ideas going forward in the aftermath of the goal.
Everton duly killed the game off with two goals in the space of a couple of minutes.
The first came in the 75th when the ball was squared from the right to the feet of Pienaar, on the left of goal. He looked up, sized the situation up in an instant and curled a right-foot shot around Mignolet and into the far corner of the net.
Worse was to follow from a near-identical position. This time the ball was supplied by Gueye with a ball over the top from the left, but Osman was in almost the exact same position as Pienaar had been when he curled a shot around Mignolet to the far post – this time the ball actually going in off the upright.
Everton scored their fourth in the 80th minute after great work by Pienaar near the right hand corner flag, the midfielder winning possession from James McClean and giving the ball to substitute Victor Anichebe, whose first shot was blocked back to him and whose second deflected in off Jack Colback.
It pretty much summed Sunderland’s day – out of sorts, out of luck and out of ideas.
Everton 2 Sunderland 0
February 26, 2011
Sunderland fully deserved defeat after one of their poorest performances of the season led to their fourth loss in a row.
Once again, poor defending undermined the Black Cats’ hopes of taking anything from a game.
But had the Wearsiders been able to make the most of two great first-half openings they might have had half a chance.
In just the seventh minute, Asamoah Gyan played through Kieran Richardson into a one-on-one with Everton keeper Tim Howard, but the Sunderland midfielder made a hash of his effort.
Everton capitalised on that a minute later when a poor defensive header from stand-in right-back Anton Ferdinand allowed striker Jermaine Beckford to fire a close range shot in off the knee of Titus Bramble.
Sunderland almost got back on level terms just before the half-hour when Gyan and Sulley Muntari set up Stephane Sessegnon and the African’s fierce shot was goal-bound until it was finger-tipped onto the crossbar by Tim Howard.
Once again, Everton made Sunderland pay. Ferdinand produced a poor defensive header again and this time it was Mikel Arteta who benefited, crossing from the left for Beckford to scuff home the 100th league goal of his career.
Everton were deserving of their 2-0 lead at the break but if Sunderland were disappointing in the first-half they were even worse in the second and barely featured as an attacking force.
The home team remained on top and could easily have added to their two goal advantage to inflict a worse result.