Mark Lawrenson thinks that Everton have already made progress since Sam Allardyce arrived.
The BBC Sport pundit saying that the lucky point against Liverpool will have further ‘lifted’ their spirits.
The reality is that despite having Everton’s answer (David Unsworth) to John Carver in charge, the blue scousers actually won two and drew one of the four Premier League matches before Fat Sam took charge.
As for Rafa Benitez, Mark Lawrenson has been outlining just how big a challenge Rafa Benitez faces.
Lawrenson says he watched Saturday’s match and thought about which Newcastle players would get into Claude Puel’s team.
When he made his list, the former Liverpool defender couldn’t come up with one Newcastle player ahead of his Leicester counterpart.
With Lawrenson summing it up: ‘Which tells you a lot about what Magpies boss Rafa Benitez is up against there’.
Difficult to argue with him, especially on that performance, when even Mikel Merino was under par.
By far Newcastle’s best player was Dwight Gayle who is showing he is very likely a Premier League standard striker with three goals in his last four games.
I wouldn’t say he was better than Jamie Vardy but on Saturday’s display he wouldn’t have looked out of place in the Foxes team.
Mark Lawrenson goes for a draw and says if Newcastle get anything from the game it ‘would represent a bit of progress’.
Everton haven’t won a Premier League away match so far this season (four draws, four defeats) so it would be crushing for Newcastle/Rafa if that changed tomorrow night.
With the likes of Lascelles and Atsu set to come back and if Dwight Gayle can keep scoring, just maybe it will be three points, not one, for Rafa Benitez.
Mark Lawrenson talking to BBC Sport:
“You have got to give Everton credit for the way they stuck at it in Sunday’s Merseyside derby and ended up getting the draw that they came to Anfield for.
“When I was watching Newcastle’s defeat by Leicester, I sat there thinking which players from Newcastle’s starting XI would get into Leicester’s team.
“The answer was none of them would, which tells you a lot about what Magpies boss Rafa Benitez is up against there.
“With the run that Newcastle are on, with just one point from their past seven games, getting anything from this game would represent a bit of progress.
“Everton have already achieved that since Sam Allardyce arrived at the end of November, on the back of a 4-0 win over a very poor West Ham side in David Unsworth’s final game as caretaker.
“The Toffees are unbeaten in four matches now in all competitions, and will have been lifted further by the way they got their point against Liverpool.
“My prediction: Newcastle 1 Everton 1.”
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