In what might be seen as a tie of flailing fortunes, Newcastle United host Everton on Sunday, the 28th of December in the last kick-off of the day. With just 4 points from a possible 15, both the teams have seen their position in the league plummet. While Newcastle come into this game with 3 consecutive losses, Everton have lost their last 2 ties. After a resurgent run that saw them win 5 consecutive games, Alan Pardew’s men have been hampered by injuries and currently sit in the 10th spot (23 points), while their visitors for the evening sit in the 12th spot (21 points).
The injury troubles at St. James’ Park have definitely affected the results in a great way. The club currently has 11 players on the treatment table, and it comes as no surprise that their league position has plummeted over the last few match days. The long term absentees at the club include: Roland Aarons (Hamstring), Siem De Jong (Thigh), Santon (knee), Obertan (Hip), Abeid (Ankle), Elliot (hip) and Krul (Ankle). With Paul Dummett and Sammy Ameobi picking up knocks in previous games, it remains to be seen if they will feature against the Toffees. In the absence of the first 2 goalkeepers at the club, the young Jak Alnwick will remain the guardian between the posts.
The medical staff at Goodison are on overtime duty these days as they hold the key to revitalise the fortunes of the Toffees’ squad. Everton are facing an injury crisis at the moment with eight of their key players missing or doubtful for the clash against the Magpies. Tim Howard, John Stones, Christian Atsu, Phil Jagielka and Kevin Mirallas are set to undergo a late fitness test to be in contention to travel to St. James’ Park. Besic remains a doubt after missing the last game with an illness. Tony Hibbert (Muscular), Leon Osman (Ankle) and Darren Gibson (Knee) remain out of contention until the middle of January adding to the injury woes at Goodison Park.
- Gareth Barry is the first player in Premier League history to reach treble figures for yellow cards.
- Papiss Cisse has scored five times as a substitute in the Premier League this season, more than any other player.
Alnwick, Janmaat, Coloccini, Taylor, Dummet, Sissoko, Colback, Cabella, Gouffran, Perez, Cisse,
Howard, Coleman, Stones, Jagielka, Baines, Barry, McCarthy, Barkley, Mirallas, Naismith, Lukaku
The French midfielder, if fit, will play a crucial role in Newcastle breaking up a side whose defence has been lacklustre so far this season having conceded a total of 28 goals. With injuries playing their part, he has been restricted to just 4 full appearances at the club and would be keen to take his chances when presented with them. Capable of slotting in on either flank as well as the centre of the attack, Cabella’s ability to find his teammates in key positions could trouble the Everton defence. Having created 24 chances in under 1000 minutes that he has been on the pitch, the player is only second to the ever-present Colback in terms of chances created.
With Everton’s full-backs playing a key role in their attack, we could see Cabella being used out wide to nullify their efforts as he has displayed strong defensive attributes. Also, any ventures forward obviously run the risk of being punished by the Frenchman for the Everton full-backs, often keeping them subdued. The versatile midfielder holds a plethora of skill with his passing, movement and creativity. Should he find the rhythm early on in the game, he could ignite St. James’ Park on a cold Sunday evening.
Set for a late medical before being declared fit to travel, Kevin Mirallas is no stranger to niggles in his time at Goodison Park. He has finished just 3 of the 10 games he has started this season and is constantly monitored by the club’s medical team due to his injury record. However, in his time on the pitch, the midfielder has done enough to make him a threat to the opposition as he has linked up well with attackers, often working as the link between them and the midfield that sits behind up.
He is a constant threat to any side with his raw pace and strong shooting skills. The young Alnwick could be severely tested on Sunday as Mirallas and the burly Lukaku will look to unsettle him with long range strikes early in the game. Having created 12 chances and scored 4 goals so far (3 of them from outside the box), Mirallas could combine well with his Belgian teammate to threaten the Magpies’ defence at will.
Head to Head
|Tue 25 Mar
|0 – 3
|Mon 30 Sep
|3 – 2
|Wed 02 Jan
|1 – 2
|Mon 17 Sep
|2 – 2
|Sun 13 May
|3 – 1
|Sat 05 Nov
|2 – 1
With only 2 points between the two, this game marks the game of equals, in terms of position in the table as well as form. Both teams will look to put a stop to their poor form over the last few match days and end the year on a positive note. We predict a combative end to end footballing fixture with the game ending as a 2-2 draw.