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The Gaffer Against... Everton

Will it be third time lucky for Moyes against his former club?

David Moyes will be hoping it's a case of third time lucky when he faces former club Everton on Monday night, having lost to the Toffees on both occasions as Manchester United manager.

Moyes traditionally struggled against United in his eleven years at Everton, winning just four of his twenty four encounters. Yet when he replaced Sir Alex Ferguson in 2013, the trend was reversed, with his second defeat ultimately costing him his job.

In fact, in his first game against his former club, a 1-0 home defeat in December 2013, Moyes saw Roberto Martinez achieve a feat that had avoided him throughout his Everton career; winning at Old Trafford - at the first time of asking, no less.

It was a rough night for Moyes, not least due to the taunting from the fans that he served for eleven years. Despite both Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck striking the woodwork, United were unable to find a breakthrough and were punished four minutes from time when Bryan Oviedo converted Romelu Lukaku's cross at the back post.

To add irony to the agony, Oviedo replaced the injured Leighton Baines - a summer target for Moyes - in the Everton side.

Moyes returned to Goodison Park in April 2014 in what would be his final game in charge of United. Sitting seven points off the Champions League places with only five games to play, a victory was a must if their feint hopes of qualifying were to be kept alive for another week.

He also had a point to prove. Everton had climbed above United under Martinez, and a win back 'home' would show those fans who had quickly forgotten the 'M word' that there was life left in him yet.

But it didn't happen. United were outplayed and outfought in a game which demonstrated just how far they had fallen.

Leighton Baines, poetically perhaps, put Everton in front from the spot after Phil Jones had handled. Kevin Mirallas doubled the Toffees' lead just before half time, and United were somewhat fortunate to leave Goodison with only two goals against their name.

The defeat meant that Everton had done the double over the champions for the first time since 1969; both Merseyside clubs had done the double over United for the very first time; and United would miss out on the Champions League for the first time since 1995-96.

Moyes was sacked just two days later.

And now we look forward to Monday evening. Sunderland have traditionally struggled against Everton in the Premier League, winning just nine of thirty games. In recent years however, our form against the Toffees has actually been pretty decent. In the last eight encounters, The Lads have won four, drawn one, and lost three. And for the most part, they've been decided by the odd goal.

Of course, we lost 6-2 at Goodison Park last season in shambolic fashion. But who can forget Ki's penalty, or Danny Graham's wonder goal? Oh, and the 3-0 demolition that saw us survive yet again in May.

Everton have started the season in decent form and will provide a difficult test on Monday evening. But we looked improved against Southampton, and with new additions and a squad that has had time to gel and work together over the international break, we should be able to give them a good game.

Moyes seems focused. He seems to know what he wants. I doubt that any form of 'revenge' will be on his mind, but playing against his former club will certainly provide some extra motivation. Let's just hope it's third time lucky for him on Monday!

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