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Previewing the Unpreviewable: Everton vs Newcastle

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Newcastle travel to Merseyside to take on a solid Everton side

Newcastle United v Chelsea - Premier League - St James’ Park
balls to the face
Photo by Owen Humphreys/PA Images via Getty Images

Newcastle are set to travel to Goodison Park tomorrow to take on Everton, a team who have had an interesting season to say the least. After starting off the season in the relegation zone, Everton moved on from manager Marco Silva and replaced him with Carlo Ancelotti.

Ancelotti’s Toffees have played well so far and were able to claw their way into a mid table position, but that is not saying much considering the gap between them and the relegation zone is only 7 points. As of recent, questions are starting to be asked of Ancelotti as an injury crisis has led to some less than desirable results given how much money was invested into the team. The recent 1-1 draw against West Ham in particular was a match where Ancelotti saw a fair amount of criticism, because in the eyes of many Everton fans mid table clubs like Newcastle and West Ham should be easy wins.

That being said, I personally think Ancelotti has done a good job with Everton. He is doing enough to rescue them from relegation by winning matches he should win, and staying competitive matches against teams such as Liverpool or Manchester City.

Everton and Newcastle sit in 11th and 12th respectively, with both sides having 29 points so far this season. The 29 points between the two sides put them 7 points clear of the relegation zone. Both teams are obviously hungry for a win as 3 points would put them just 9 points away from safety point total of 40 points.

Recent Form

Newcastle seem to have their mojo back, as they have a decent run of form sparked by Miguel Almiron netting his first Premier League goal, the Longstaff brothers beginning to look confident again, as well as the return of Jamaal Lascelles, Jonjo Shelvey, and Matt Ritchie. Newcastle only have one loss in their last 5 matches, and are looking to build off of a gutsy win against Chelsea this past weekend.

Newcastle United v Chelsea FC - Premier League
Corner Flag: rekd
Photo by Mark Fletcher/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Everton are coming off an unimpressive draw against West Ham, a 1-0 win against Brighton, as well as a couple of losses to Manchester City and Liverpool. However, the side are currently dealing with an injury crisis similar to the one Newcastle are exiting and there is not a lot of faith from the fan base that the team will be able to perform at a high level the next couple of weeks.

Each teams last 5 results are below.

Everton (WDDLL)

West Ham 1-1 Everton

Everton 1-0 Brighton

Liverpool 1-0 Everton

Manchester City 2-1 Everton

Newcastle 1-2 Everton

Newcastle (WWDDL)

Newcastle 1-0 Chelsea

Newcastle 4-1 Rochdale

Wolves 1-1 Newcastle

Rochdale 1-1 Newcastle

Newcastle 0-3 Leicester

What do Newcastle have to do to win?

Newcastle’s key to success here is to simply bunker and look for opportunities on the counter.

Newcastle already are a team who bunker down, and play a disciplined style of play that does not allow for teams to easily break down their defense. So, this is not a tough ask of Newcastle, but given the opponent it is a necessary one.

Everton, like Chelsea, are a team that have thrived against teams who like the run of play in the match to be open. This way, the pacey players in this Everton side can bomb forward and exploit defenses who might have been left out of position. However, when teams bunker against Everton, they struggle to create chances on their own. Couple this fact with that they are dealing with a bit of an injury crisis with a lot of their more creative players, and you can see why Newcastle can easily win this game by playing a bunkering, counterattacking style of football.

It won’t be pretty, but 3 points are 3 points.

Players to Watch

Dominic Calvert-Lewin has been the hottest name this season for Everton, and for good reason. The young English forward leads Everton in goals this season with 9 thus far. Calvert -Lewin also had a brace against Newcastle in the reverse fixture, and will likely be a point of concern for Newcastle tomorrow evening.

Calvert-Lewin’s ability to be in the right positions in order to score goals is something that usually takes players a couple seasons to develop (ex: Joelinton), but Calvert-Lewin is able to this consistently do this at the young age of 22. This ability can easily hurt Newcastle in open play situations, but Calvert-Lewin was a major threat for Newcastle in the reverse fixture during set pieces. He is a player Newcastle cannot lose sight of this match, and is going to be the most obvious threat to score for Everton in all situations.

Newcastle United v Chelsea FC - Premier League
Legend!
Photo by Mark Fletcher/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

For Newcastle, once again, Allan Saint-Maximin is the player I would key in on. After playing 94 minutes, and getting the match winning assist against Chelsea ASM’s return to action was definitely a positive one.

However, ASM did not have a lot of opportunities to display his dynamic ability on the ball, and as a result of that Newcastle struggled to create many chances. A lot of this was due to the fact that Newcastle struggled to retain possession against Chelsea. Newcastle had multiple errant passes, and unorganized hoofing of the ball instead of trying to actually string passes together. Part of this was due to a very aggressive Chelsea press that was employed at times, and having to deal with one of the best ball winning midfielders in the world.

Fortunately for Newcastle, they are facing a side who will not be as aggressive as Chelsea on the ball, and will not have Ngolo Kante at the heart of the midfield. I would hope that when Newcastle win the ball, they are able to string together some passes and find ASM. When ASM is afforded the opportunity to be on the ball he is one of the most dangerous players in the Premier League, and he could easily be a key reason for a potential Newcastle win.

Injuries... of which there are many

Today it was announced that both Paul Dummett and Jetro Willems will not make another appearance for Newcastle this season. Dummett’s hamstring injury was worse than the training staff initially thought while Jetro Willems ruptured his ACL early in the Chelsea match.

Newcastle will still be without Dwight Gayle, Javier Maquillo, Jack Colback, Andy Carroll, Yoshinori Muto, DeAndre Yedlin and Ki Sung-yeung.

Everton will be without Andre Gomes, Gylfi Siggurdson and Jean Phillippe Gbamin. They will also be missing key attacking players Richarlison and Alex Iwobi.

One Bold Prediction

Dominic Calvert-Lewin will not score.

In the last match against Everton Calvert-Lewin was not that effective in open play for Everton. He was involved but was not finding himself in dangerous positions in behind the Newcastle back line. If Newcastle are able to contain him on set pieces then I would not be shocked if Calvert-Lewin does not score.

One Not So Bold Prediction

Christian Atsu will almost score.

Christian Atsu is on a mission given to him by the footballing gods. He must almost score every single time he is on the pitch, and that will once again happen in this match.

The Elijah Newsome Clout Rating

If you missed the explanation for this revolutionary system an explanation can be found here. If you don’t want to read more than 3 sentences about the word “clout”, just know my Clout rating is a rating based on a club’s swag, influence and relevance.

Everton plays second fiddle to another club in their city, have boring kits, are named after a candy and they fired one of the swaggiest managers in the Premier League.

Liverpool FC v Everton FC - Premier League
This guy had swag
Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

So yeah... not a lot of clout.

Clout Rating: An LSAT prep book from 2003

Projected Lineups

Both teams are probably going to roll out the same lineups they did this past weekend. I could, and would love to, see the hawks benching Krafth for Hayden. Krafth was decent in defense this past weekend but struggled with his ball distribution. Newcastle were much more dangerous in attack once Hayden moved there.

Everton Projected Lineup (4-4-2): Pickford; Sidibe, Mina, Holgate, Digne; Walcott, Davies, Delph, Bernard; Kean, Calvert-Lewin.

Newcastle Projected Lineup (5-4-1): Dubravka; Hayden, Fernandez, Lascelles, Clark, Ritchie; Almiron, S Longstaff, Shelvey, Saint-Maximin; Joelinton.

One Random Fact to Say at the Bar

Newcastle have won an outstanding 64% of their matches when Allan Saint-Maximin has started (P11 W7 D2 L2). When he has not started NEwcastle have won only 8% of their matches ( P12 W1 D2 L8)

Elijah’s Never Wrong Prediction

Everton are missing two of their best offensive players with Sigurdsson and Richarlison both being out. I think they will struggle to create offense against a bunkering Newcastle side.

In order for Newcastle to win this match, they will have to be effective with their setpieces as well when counter attacking against Everton.

Newcastle win 0-2.

Match Facts and Where to Watch

Date: Tuesday, 21 January 2020

Kick-off: 2:30 PM EST, 7:30 PM GMT

Venue: Goodison Park

TV coverage: NBC Sports Gold (USA), BBC Radio (NUFC.com)

Referee: Simon Hooper