Everton v Newcastle United
Monday 17 September 2012 8pm SKY
Newcastle started off with five competitive matches in fifteen days, then followed by a fifteen day international break without a match.
Why they have international qualifiers so early in the season is anybody’s guess but at least it would give a chance for our injuries to clear up…
Oh dear, not only is Tiote still unavailable but both Krul and Coloccini have come back injured from international duty with Krul reportedly out for at least 2 or 3 matches and our captain likely to be in the same boat.
Add in Danny Simpson and that is four of our nailed on first eleven, with Ryan Taylor obviously out as well.
With Cheick Tiote I have a horrible feeling that we could see a repeat of last season where each match it was rumoured he might be back, only for the injury to drag on week after week. I hope that isn’t the case and we could have really done with him on pitch against Everton.
A dominant home win against Manchester United shows what they are capable of and their physical hard running sky needs to be matched before you can then hope to get anything out of the match.
Fellaini is their key player for me and I see Jonas moving inside to help cope with his powerful presence, creating a space for possibly either Marveaux or Obertan. Gael Bigirimana has impressed so far but I think it is a big ask to throw him into such a difficult match.
All the talk has been of Anita at right-back but of course that is a possible smokescreen and we could see him in a midfield three with possibly Perch slotting in at right-back.
I think though if Coloccini misses out as expected then it would be Perch and not Williamson coming in alongside Steven Taylor to match him up against Jelavic who has made an impressive start to his career on Merseyside.
Hatem Ben Arfa has of course been by far our most impressive player this season and biggest goal threat, he of course scored that stunner when on loan at Newcastle, giving us our only Premier League win at Goodison since the 2001/02 season.
Whatever injury problems we have throughout the rest of the team, if Ben Arfa can carry his form into this match combined with Cisse & Ba stepping up a gear then we could still be well set to get something, despite something approaching fearing the worst when looking forward to this match.
Never the most hospitable welcome for us here anyway, the Cabaye and Cahill/Ballboy nonsense at the end of last season guaranteed an extra layer of animosity, which has then been ramped up in recent days with the likes of Jagielka getting his knickers in a twist about a perceived Pardew sleight on Everton last season, which was in fact all to do with our manager making a point about Newcastle being in a similar position to Arsenal in terms of vulnerability to losiing our best players.
It is easy to get down with the injuries and disappointing performance against Villa but when you can put a front five of Cabaye, Jonas, Ba, Ben Arfa and Cisse out there then there has to be a lot of room for optimism. Everton hold few surprises and undoubtedly have benefited from Moyes’ extended stay with a system that isn’t the most exciting but where every player comes in and know their job.
Just as they registered wins against the Mancs and Villa, they showed they were no world beaters when West Brom ran out comfortable winners against them at the Hawthorns.
I don’t think United will win but I expect a more convincing display than of late and head back to Tyneside with a point. If you can’t make the match then you can catch it on SKY and don’t forget ESPN are covering Europa League matches including our trip to Maritimo on Thursday, ESPN of course can be added if you already have a SKY package.