Newcastle United v Everton – Match Preview
Wednesday 2 January 2012 8pm Live On SKY
Ending up at the wrong end of the table I’d tended to not take too much interest in the teams nearer the top, as you do.
So when it came to look at how they’d got in this season it was a bit of a surprise to see that their season has been largely built on being hard to beat, losing only three times but also drawing a massive nine out of twenty matches.
The Toffees have only won once on their travels since September, a slightly fortunate win over West Ham, while draws at Wigan & QPR and defeat at Reading suggest that while we should respect Wednesday’s opponents we shouldn’t fear them.
Add in a home record that has seen us lose only once to Everton in eleven matches and this is a winnable game if Newcastle are up to the job.
Odds of 23/10 on an NUFC win is a huge price when many fans will see this as a must win game to settle the nerves.
Of course Newcastle were totally outplayed in the first half at Goodison and owed the point to a much improved second half performance and two excellent finishes from Demba Ba.
That day also saw Sylvain Marveaux at a real low, after a totally anonymous first half he was dragged off and replaced by the match saving Demba Ba.
Things are on the up at last for the French midfielder as he is at last seizing his chance and easily emerged as our Newcastle United man of the match in both the matches at Old Trafford and the Emirates, getting over 33% and 46% in the respective fan polls.
If Marveaux can hold his form and Newcastle at least avoid defeat tomorrow then I think BetVictor’s 20/1 Marveaux man of the match is huge.
Of course you won’t need reminding that despite some much improved attacking displays, the team still ended up with no points.
The big challenge for Marveaux and the rest of the team is to translate that improved form into a home game that is there to be won. As well as the number of goals it was good to see the likes of Perch, Marveaux and Simpson (well he was the last Newcastle player to touch the ball) getting amongst the goals as well as the usual suspects, Ba and Cisse.
Obviously Newcastle’s injury problems continue with Simpson joining the injury list meaning Perch is likely to fill in there for him, elsewhere the options appear limited again as nobody appears ready to return from the injury list.
Everton also are suffering with currently Neville, Mirallas, Gibson, Coleman and Hibbert all missing, though just our luck that Fellaini is back after his suspension.
Wherever the Belgian plays, there will be a big responsibility on Cheick Tiote, before he heads off to the African Nations, to try and keep him quiet.
All eyes will be on Demba Ba with Alan Pardew confirming that he expects his top scorer to play despite the ongoing transfer speculation.
Whatever is or isn’t happening on that front, the player showed with his goals and overall play at the Emirates that he isn’t affected in the slightest when it comes to doing what he is paid for.
The 6/1 on Ba first goal looks to be well worth a second look.
What formation the players are laid out in will be interesting to see but the team is likely to look something like this;
Krul, Perch, Williamson, Coloccini, Santon, Obertan, Tiote, Marveaux, Bigirimana, Ba, Cisse
Maybe a point might turn out to not be the worst result at the end of the season but Alan Pardew will surely be setting his team out to go for the win and I think we might just get it…if the defending is whipped into shape.
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