Everton welcome Newcastle on the final day. The home side are playing for prize money whilst the visitors have hopes of a Champions League place. The two sides met earlier in the season with Newcastle emerging victorious in a drab encounter. With a draw and a win on their last two visits, Newcastle last lost at Goodison since 11th May 2008. However, last season’s win was Newcastle’s only one in eight trips to Everton.
An Everton win will see Moyes’ men finish in seventh. For that to happen, Everton will need to remedy their recent form against Newcastle with one win in the last five meetings. Despite that, Everton come into the game in fine form. Looking to make it nine leagues games unbeaten, Everton are closing in on the club record of 11 Premier League games unbeaten.
Everton’s recent home league form is impressive with wins and clean sheets in six of their last seven at Goodison. Everton’s recent form has coincided with a greater goal threat. The Toffees scoring two or more in their last three matches at home.
The Europa League looks a certainty for the visitors with Newcastle enjoying a great season. Three points at Everton would give Alan Pardew’s side an outside chance of a Top 4 spot. The recent blip at Wigan aside, Newcastle’s defence has been strong this season. Pardew’s well-organised Magpies have kept five clean sheets in their last seven-league games.
Since January 1st, only the two Manchester clubs have gained more points than Newcastle and Everton. Investing in new forwards in January has paid off for both teams. Everton new boy Nikica Jelavic has scored seven in his last seven league games whilst Newcastle recruit Papiss Cisse has 13 in 13 league games.
The rapid rise of Cisse has coincided with the decline of fellow forward Demba Ba (Editors Note: This is mainly because he has been playing left-wing for Newcastle to accomodate Cisse). Ba’s 16 goals in 33 league games is impressive but had the potential to be so much better. Ba started in quiet fashion with no goals in his first four outings. Things soon improved, with a hat trick against Blackburn proving the catalyst for a fantastic run; Ba scoring 16 goals in 16 league games from September – February.
However, since Cisse’s arrival, Ba has gone 13 games (42 shots) without a goal. Ba and Cisse have started 12 games together. In those 12 games, Cisse has scored 12 times with Ba failing to register once.
Jelavic joined from Rangers for £5 million with Cisse costing £9 million from SC Freiburg. There is a strong argument that both have already paid back their transfer fees. Jelavic has eight goals in nine league games with Cisse scoring 13 in 12 starts. In comparison to Jelavic, Cisse holds the edge in all categories. Although, with the difference in transfer fees, some may feel that Jelavic is the better value for money.
Everton could have three injured players back with Leighton Baines, Darron Gibson and Phil Neville returning to training this week. Jack Rodwell is out for the season with a hamstring injury whilst Victor Anichebe is also out (groin). Sylvain Distin will continue to deputise at left back if Baines fails a fitness test.
Newcastle will have to do without first choice right back Danny Simpson. The full back is out with an ankle injury and James Perch likely to deputise. Peter Lovenkrands (thigh) and Steven Taylor (Achilles) are definitely out. Alan Pardew will assess Danny Guthrie (calf) and Shola Ameobi (knee) nearer the time as both get a chance to prove their fitness.
With one goalless draw in 70 for Everton and no draws in 10 for Newcastle, the odds suggest a victor will emerge from this one. Everton will look to dominate from the start and an early goal may prove vital. Newcastle’s record once falling behind is dreadful with the Magpies gaining four points from losing positions. Only Manchester United (2) have a worse record after falling behind this season.
- Newcastle are the only team who haven’t scored an own goal this season
- Newcastle have never won their final away game in the Premier League
- Everton – tied with Arsenal – have had 17 different scorers this season – a league high
- Darron Gibson is unbeaten in 26 league games
- Everton need 2 goals for 300 home Premier League goals under David Moyes