Best Odds: 11/5
We’ve got another full set of Premier League fixtures to enjoy this weekend, off the back of some entertaining encounters in Europe during the week. Two teams who won’t have suffered from the stress of a trip abroad, though, are Newcastle United and Everton. These two sides are on the outside of the race for the Europa League spots looking in, with the Magpies focusing more on what’s happening over their shoulder as opposed to who is putting the pressure on the top six.
The progress shown on the pitch in recent months for Newcastle has been a joy to watch for their fans, whereas off the pitch, things are pretty much the same – which isn’t a good thing. Still, Rafa Benitez can only control what happens within the realms of his job, and with that in mind, it seems safe to suggest Newcastle aren’t major contenders for the drop this season. Sure, they’re only six points off the bottom three, but there are a lot of teams standing between them and Cardiff.
Sean Longstaff’s knee injury means he’ll likely be ruled out of this one, alongside Rob Elliot and Ciaran Clark. Diame and Shelvey will likely be battling for a place in the starting XI as a result.
Inconsistency has been the biggest issue for Everton throughout the course of the campaign, and it doesn’t seem like that’s going to change anytime soon. They aren’t struggling to avoid the relegation battle and they aren’t pushing on for the European spots. They’re just kind of there. Their performance against rivals Liverpool gave fans cause for optimism at times, but there’s no reason to believe that they’re going to build on it in a significant way.
Yerry Mina is back in training with Baines still out, and elsewhere in the quad, Schneiderlin will be hoping to maintain his place in the line up ahead of Andre Gomes.
Factors to Consider
- The game will be played at Newcastle’s St James’ Park.
- Newcastle have won three, drawn one and lost two of their last six games.
- Everton have won two, drawn one and lost three of their last six games.
- Newcastle have scored seven goals and conceded five in their last six games.
- Everton have scored five goals and conceded six in their last six games.
From a quality perspective, it should be pretty difficult to separate these two – and that’s the kind of theme we’re expecting to see play out this weekend. Everton will probably control the pace of the game, but they don’t really have any kind of finishing quality to speak of. You could argue the same is true of Newcastle, who are pretty solid defensively, which leads us to believe that we’re going to get a goalless draw on Tyneside. That sounds like a bad thing, but games like this can be pretty entertaining if both sides are up for it.
Best Odds: 11/5
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