With both sides managing to juggle the responsibilities of participating in multiple competitions rather well, Sunderland and Everton will take a break from Premier League duties this weekend when the pair meet in the FA Cup, as Paddy Power make the Toffees the odds against favourites to progress to the next round.
One couldn’t hope to see two sides in closer proximity to one another do battle either, with the teams currently level in the Premier League standings.
8th position Sunderland just about the hold the edge over 9th place Everton with a superior goal difference but if statistics are anything to go by then Everton may come out better off in terms of form.
The Toffees have lost just one game in their last ten outings across all competitions, winning five and drawing four.
In none of these matches have the Merseysiders scored more than two goals however, relying hugely on their defence instead.
And for good reason too. David Moyes’ side have conceded an average of 0.93 goals per game this season when playing at Goodison Park and are almost as impressive when away from home, conceding just 1.29 on average.
As aforementioned though, Everton aren’t as impressive going forward and if Sunderland can keep the likes of Nikica Jelavic, Royston Drenthe and Denis Stracqualursi at bay, they’re undoubtedly in with a big chance of booking a place in the tournament’s semi-finals.
That may prove harder than protracted however, as it currently uncertain whether or not Nicklas Bendtner will feature for the Black Cats after coming off late in Sunderland’s 1-0 victory over Liverpool.
This would leave just Frazier Campbell to lead the front line with youngsters Connor Wickham and Ji Dong-Won as cover.
Both sides have seen a burst in success in 2012 so far but won’t be looking to stop there as they continue their hunt to end the 2011-12 season with silverware.