3 Positives and 3 Negatives to take from Everton 3 Newcastle 0
Thursday night’s match ended Everton 3 Newcastle 0.
Ahead of each match we ask one of our writers to come up with three positives and three negatives following the game.
Plenty to talk about after this one…
On this occasion it is ‘Matt Busby said to Joe Harvey…’:
Check the rear view mirror
I’ll make no apologies for raking over the past and starting with this.
Two years ago, we’d just won our first game of the season and pulled ourselves up to 19th in the table. Despite the takeover and the appointment of Eddie Howe, we were staring relegation in the face. Fourteen years of Mike Ashley had taken its toll, and our football club was broken.
Our current points tally and goal difference this morning would have placed us in the top four on 8th December 2021.
Charlatans Ashley, Charnley and Bruce are thankfully long gone. Investment in player acquisitions have been fantastic in the windows since.
We no longer watch the likes of Hendrick, Fraser and Shelvey going through the motions, and the young talent we have at our disposal is frightening. Lewis Miley is the pick of the homegrown talent but let’s not forget Elliot Anderson who is out injured. Lewis Hall is only 19, Livramento is 21, Gordon 22 and even Alexander Isak is a youthful 24 years of age. I could go on….
Whilst defeat in what could be our final ever match at Goodison Park, one of the last vestiges of the Archibald Leach era, is hard to take, let’s take stock of where we were only 24 months ago and what we might have instead been contemplating this morning.
The quadruple is still on.
Well, what I mean is we’re the only team that can still theoretically land the domestic treble plus the Champions League.
Never mind we won’t do it, that’s immaterial.
The fact that it’s possible to make such an outrageous claim and not be summarily bundled into a van and driven to the asylum is the point.
Looking at the table this morning, we’ve played five of the six teams that sit above us in both league and cup. We’ve beaten four of them (one of them twice). We’re only a point off fifth place Spurs. Win on Sunday and it’ll look very different.
We follow that with those cup ties against Milan and Chelsea where progression to another semi-final and the continuation of our European adventure could well be sealed.
Altitude training camp
Athletes who train at altitude where the air is thin, and their bodies acclimate to the relative lack of oxygen by increasing their haemoglobin, can retain a higher concentration of red blood cells when they return to sea level, thereby gaining a competitive advantage.
I use this analogy because when our players return from sick leave, just like when an athlete returns to competition at sea level, Newcastle United will bomb on.
We have all reflected on the players who are out for one reason or another and we’ve all had a go at assembling a credible eleven from our walking wounded. The fact it’s possible to pick a very good team from those that are unavailable is plain crazy, but let’s hang on to the notion that some day soon, they’ll all be back and in contention.
Running on empty
This is a theme we will keep on returning to until the walking wounded are back.
The lads were lauded as heroes after those home wins against Chelsea and Manchester, with that fantastic ‘backs to the wall’ performance in Paris sandwiched in between. They don’t do that and then capitulate against a very poor Everton side without a damn good reason.
I made the point when we beat Manchester that the last quarter of an hour was a concern, in that we resembled a boxer that was way ahead on points but hanging on for the bell to sound, doing his utmost to avoid being hit by the proverbial sucker punch.
The timing of those goals at Goodison isn’t a coincidence. They came in the 79th, 86th and 96th minutes. The lads are giving their all but unless and until the cavalry in the form of their absent colleagues appear from over the hill, I’m afraid it’s going to be like this for some time.
Away day blues
Our away form has been lamentable.
One win in seven premier league matches on the road and with four defeats, we’ve already surpassed the number of times we lost away from St James’ Park in the whole of last season.
The reasons are many and varied, but the stand out for me is that when we go behind, apart from our trip to the London Stadium, we don’t come back. It’s happened at the Etihad, the Amex, the Signal Iduna, the Vitality and now Goodison. We need to stop the rot and get back to something resembling last season’s form.
I wrote a recent article for The Mag advocating that Eddie should look at prising the youngster, James Trafford away from Burnley in the event the Clarets get relegated.
In that article, I made clear my admiration for Nick Pope who played an instrumental role in our Champions League qualification. He’s also been a contender for MOTM awards in a few games this season, most notably the performance he gave in the match in the Parc de Princes. I stated that Nick Pope was a great keeper and had not become a bad one, but at 31 years of age and with an inability to play with his feet, felt an upgrade was necessary if our upward trajectory and forward momentum is to continue.
A few days later, Nick suffered what let’s face it, could be a career threatening injury. I sincerely hope it isn’t and wish him a swift recovery. We all do.
Martin Dubravka really hacked me off last season when he won the League Cup. He’s back in the team so I should really bury the hatchet, except he’s a poor replacement for Pope. I had the jitters every time the ball went into our box last night and in the end, he was very easily beaten on three occasions.
I’m not going to have a go at Trippier or Lascelles for that first goal. I thought Pope would have saved Dwight McNeil’s shot and I thought Dubravka was poor when the other two ended up in the back of the net. Harsh? Perhaps. I’d be interested in how others saw it.
Under Ashley, Dubravka was a half decent player in a poor team. He is not what we need for the remainder of the season and I hope Eddie gets someone that’s more capable in January. Either that or I hope he gives Karius a run out.
Stats via BBC Sport:
Everton 3 Newcastle 0 – Thursday 7 December 7.30pm
McNeil 79, Doucour 86, Beto 90+6
Possession was Everton 39% Newcastle 61%
Total shots were Everton 21 Newcastle 13
Shots on target were Everton 6 Newcastle 3
Corners were Everton 5 Newcastle 2
Referee: Tim Robinson
Attendance: 38,198 (Newcastle United 3,000)
Newcastle team v Everton:
Pope, Trippier, Lascelles (Krafth 90), Schar, Livramento, Bruno, Lewis Miley (Ritchie 90), Joelinton, Almiron, Gordon, Isak
Karius, Gillespie, Dummett, Hall, Diallo, Alex Murphy, Parkinson
(Match Report – Everton 3 Newcastle 0 – Scoreline no reflection of the match but if you don’t take your chances… Read HERE)
(Everton 3 Newcastle 0 – Match ratings and comments on all of the Newcastle United players – Read HERE)
(Everton 3 Newcastle 0 – Instant NUFC fan / writer reaction – Read HERE)
Newcastle United confirmed matches to mid-January 2024:
Sunday 10 December 2023 – Tottenham v Newcastle (4.30pm) Sky Sports
Wednesday 13 December 2023 – Newcastle v AC Milan (8pm) TNT Sports
Saturday 16 December 2023 – Newcastle v Fulham (3pm)
Tuesday 18 December 2023 – Chelsea v Newcastle (8pm) Sky Sports
Saturday 23 December 2023 – Luton v Newcastle (3pm)
Tuesday 26 December 2023 – Newcastle v Forest (12.30pm) Amazon
Monday 1 January 2024 – Liverpool v Newcastle (8pm) Sky Sports
Saturday 6 January 2024 – Sunderland v Newcastle (12.45pm) ITV
Saturday 13 January 2024 – Newcastle v Man City (5.30pm) TNT Sports
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