A lot is at stake for both Everton and Newcastle United as the two Premier League rivals square off on Wednesday night at Goodison Park. Roberto Martinez and Steve McClaren are under great pressure and we should be in for an exciting game.
Winless since Boxing Day in the Premier League, Toffees have undone all the good work from the beginning of the season. New year 2016 has brought nothing good to Everton fans, who have witnessed their team put in good displays but without desired effect. Everton are still one of the most effective teams in the league, but their defence record has been woeful, which was perhaps most obvious in their Capital One Cup semi-final return leg at the Etihad Stadium against Manchester City. The Toffees opened the scoring courtesy of a brilliant solo goal from Ross Barkley, but were unable to hold on to their lead, ultimately slumping to a 3-1 loss and the elimination from the competition. Defeat to Manchester City cost Everton a great chance of winning their first trophy in 21 years and Roberto Martinez now faces a great deal of pressure from the club’s hierarchy. He will be under imperative to win against Newcastle and improve his team’s position in the league standings. Toffees are sitting in 12th with 29 points, eight short of Manchester United in the last remaining European spot. Everton have been busy on the transfer Deadline Day having brought Lokomotiv Moscow forward Oumar Niasse, who is supposed to increase competition upfront with Romelu Lukaku. The Belgian has scored 15 goals so far in the league but will welcome support upfront.
The latest signing Oumar Niasse is ready for his Premier League debut and could be given a chance from the bench.
Roberto Martinez has his full crop at disposal, with the exception of the two long-term absentees Tonny Hibbert and Tyias Browning.
Magpies have perhaps been the most disappointing Premier League team thus far in the new season. Steve McClaren’s men haven’t been unable to match up the pre-season’s expectations and the heat is turning up on the manager, who is under a lot of pressure to try and get his team out of trouble. Newcastle United have spent more than enough time in the relegation zone and a win at Goodison could see them leapfrog Norwich in 17th and make an important step forward. Mike Ashley has invested a lot of money in building a respectable squad as he is aware that relegation could cost him even more due to all the television rights money, but his investments in the team are yet to pay out. Florian Thauvin was the first player to become the victim as the French winger has been loaned back to Marseille for the rest of the season. Four new players came in January and there is a lot of expectations from Jonjo Shelvey, Henri Saivet, Andros Townsend and the Deadline Day addition Seydou Doumbia, who is expected to offer a new cutting edge upfront. Newcastle United have scored only 25 goals this term and inefficiency has been one of the biggest problems so far.
Tim Krul continues his recovery, as well as Gabriel Obertain and Massaido Haidara who both miss out on the trip to Goodison.
Seydou Doumbia could be given his start fresh off from the arrival, but he is likely to start the game from the bench.
Key Factors to Consider
- Everton are winless since Boxing Day in the Premier League
- Romelu Lukaku has netted 15 league goals, but failed to score in last 4
- Newcastle United have lost 8 of their last 10 games on the road
- Magpies have conceded 41 goals this season in the Premier League
- There have been over 2.5 goals in 4 of last 5 meetings of the two sides
Wednesday clash will be a duel between two desperate sides, who have been having a lot of problems keeping their nets still in recent weeks. Everton have been playing exciting football and this game will be their opportunity to get Roberto Martinez away from thin ice he is currently walking on.
Verdict: Home win
Best odds: 4/6