Everton v Birmingham

24 December 2010 11:22
Everton midfielder Mikel Arteta returns from suspension, but Victor Anichebe serves a one-match ban following his red card at Manchester City.Phil Jagielka is struggling with a thigh problem, while Johnny Heitinga (knee) and Steven Pienaar (groin) are also doubtful.

Birmingham's Alex Hleb has resumed training after almost a month out with a hamstring injury and could feature.

Liam Ridgewell returns after missing City's last match through illness.



Everton

Suspended: Anichebe (one match)

Doubtful: Heitinga (knee), Jagielka (thigh), Pienaar (groin)

Injured: Barkley (leg)

Birmingham

Doubtful: Hleb (fitness) Injured: McFadden (knee)



MATCH PREVIEW Having shown their hunger against the Premier League's elite, David Moyes has demanded his Everton side start showing a greater appetite for the bread-and-butter fixtures as the Merseyside club look to finally kick-start their season.

We can compete at the top end but we haven't been able to compete at the bottom. We haven't been able to beat the teams below us, especially at Goodison Everton boss David Moyes Monday's victory over title hopefuls Manchester City delighted everyone at Everton, ending a seven-match winless run and illustrating a resilience and competitiveness that have only been seen in glimpses this season, most notably against the likes of Chelsea, Manchester United and Liverpool.

Moyes's men have managed just four league victories in a deeply disappointing campaign, but did enjoy a 2-0 win over this Sunday's opponents back in October.

Birmingham failed to muster a shot on target against Everton in that match, and a lack of firepower has been the major concern for manager Alex McLeish all season. They have managed fewer shots on target than any other team in the league, and drew another blank in a 1-0 defeat away to Wolverhampton Wanderers in their last league outing.

Ground staff at Goodison have been working all week to clear snow from the pitch and ensure it will be playable on Sunday. It is no wonder considering Birmingham's form on the road: they are without a Premier League away win since March.



MATCH FACTS Head-to-head

• Everton have traditionally enjoyed the upper-hand in this fixture, with 59 league wins to Birmingham's 24.

• Birmingham's only victory over Everton in 13 Premier League meetings was a 3-0 home win in February 2004.

Have your say on this match Everton

• Everton have lost 99 Premier League matches at Goodison Park. They have only won two of their last nine Premier League home games.

• David Moyes's side have managed only four top-flight wins this season, but have lost only five of their last 29 league matches.

• They have shipped just one goal in their last four games on Boxing Day.

Birmingham

• City have only been defeated once in six Premier League matches on 26 December.

• The Blues haven't won away from home this season. Their last away win was at Portsmouth in March.

• Alex McLeish's side have recorded only two league wins in their last 15 games.



LEADING GOALSCORERS

Everton

Cahill: 9 goals (9 league)



Birmingham

Gardner: 5 goals (4 league); Zigic 4 goals (2 league)



MATCH OFFICIALS Referee: Anthony Taylor

Assistant referees: Billy Smallwood & Glenn Turner

Fourth official: Andre Marriner



LAST LEAGUE MATCH LINE-UPS Everton (W2-1 v Man City, a): Howard, Neville, Jagielka (Hibbert 79), Distin, Baines, Coleman (Saha 76), Rodwell, Fellaini, Osman (Bilyaletdinov 75), Cahill, Anichebe. Subs not used: Mucha, Beckford, Gueye, Yakubu.

Birmingham (D1-1 v Tottenham, h): Foster, Carr, Johnson, Dann, Ridgewell, Gardner, Ferguson, Beausejour (Murphy 80), Bowyer (Larsson 71), Fahey (Zigic 60), Jerome. Subs not used: Taylor, Derbyshire, Michel, Jiranek.

Source: BBC_Sport