Everton v Newcastle
Sunday 15 March 4pm
Siem de Jong, Facundo Ferreyra, Paul Dummett, Mehdi Abeid, Steven Taylor, Cheick Tiote, Rolando Aarons, Papiss Cisse and Massadio Haidara are all unavailable, while Rob Elliot, Jack Colback and Remy Cabella are all back again after injury/suspension.
Whilst in the blue corner, Everton also have their injury problems.
Players such as Pienaar, McGeady and Oviedo are all definitely out, whilst Baines, Stones and Osman were all due to have late fitness tests ahead of this afternoon’s match.
Whilst Newcastle only have two wins in ten matches under John Carver, I do think the 4/1 price on NUFC winning is very attractive. Especially when you take into account that Everton have a really poor record when playing after Europa League matches and have only won one of their last twelve Premier League games over the last three months.
There is fragile confidence at Goodison Park these days and fans were quick to have a go when Kiev took the lead on Thursday.
If Newcastle can get the first goal then the fact Everton are now only three points above the relegation zone will pile the pressure on the home players.
United can’t afford to sit back because it will play right into the home team’s hands, unless United are on the front foot then I can’t see Lukaku failing to add to sixteen goals so far this season and his four in the last five matches against Newcastle.
I do worry about how Newcastle will cope in the left-back position if the opposition target it, neither Ryan Taylor or Jonas Gutierrez looked comfortable or up to speed there against Manchester United.
With only the three clubs in the relegation spots having conceded more away goals this season than Newcastle, a clean sheet would obviously go a very long way to helping the team get a result today. At the other end, Cisse earned Newcastle four points with pretty much the only two chances he had against Palace and Villa.
It would be an opportune time for Ayoze Perez to rediscover his scoring touch, the last of his five goals coming back in December when Everton were beaten 3-2 in Pardew’s last match.
Surely John Carver will have little choice but to throw in Riviere who still hasn’t scored a league goal and Remy Cabella whose fitness will depend on how well he has trained this week.
Not ideal circumstances but I can see little alternative to throwing those three together as our best chance of grabbing a goal or two.
Today could be a defining match in terms of whether there will be any chance of movement up or down the table in these remaining ten matches.
Defeat would see both Palace and West Brom two points behind and Everton move four behind, however a United win would see Newcastle move within a point of West Ham and two of Swansea.
A draw would just suggest more treading water in the no man’s land of eleventh.
Hopefully a good few players will be looking to push on and prove themselves in these remaining matches, for all kinds of reasons…even if it is to get a move in the summer.
I fancy United to line up as a 4-4-1-1 with:
Krul, Janmaat, Williamson, Coloccini, Ryan Taylor, Cabella, Colback, Sissoko, Obertan, Perez, Riviere
To see the fans’ choice of today’s team go HERE.
See all the Everton v Newcastle betting HERE