This is the type of game that will soon cease to exist in Newcastle’s schedule, so you better not take it for granted.
Starting next season the Magpies will (most probably) be playing European football on Tuesday or Wednesday (or, in the worst case, Thursday) evenings. That’s correct, no more midweek Premier League games!
It’s sad to say goodbye to such a rooted tradition for so long, but some things you have to let go of when you grow, am I right?
Instead of dreaming too much, and respecting the lads visiting St James’ Park tomorrow morning, let’s focus on what is ahead on Wednesday when the sun settles: a clash against Eddie Howe’s club (and treat, maybe) of preference. The Toffees at Newcastle’s comfy home.
Everton is out of the relegation places as I’m typing this but they might not be when all is said and done tomorrow and entering next weekend. That’s because losing tomorrow’s game against the Magpies, combined with Southampton’s winning their match and other clubs doing what they must, could see Everton drop to 18th on the table.
Cold world for Coach Frankie, that is, while Newcastle keep navigating the European waters and aiming at a weekend in which they could have already trumped Manchester United and be looking at a fourth-place finish to kick next Monday off.
Only four points saved Everton from relegation last season, and things aren’t really looking much more promising this year. With ten games played, Everton are sitting two spots ahead of where they finished last season but are only two points clear of the relegation zone instead of last season’s four.
Of course, there is still a lot of football yet to be played to say Everton is about to go down in flames, but they were very close last season and only dodged that bullet very late, so it’s not that there is not a solid precedent to go by here.
A couple of wins sandwiching the last international break of the 2022 calendar year before the World Cup helped Frankie Lampard save face a bit, yes, but those only came against fellow-minnow clubs such as West Ham (12th one point above the Toffees) and Southampton (18th with eight points).
Before and after that two-game mini run all Everton had and has done was draw or lose games: four of each variety. Of most concern for coach Lampard, though, is the most recent run of results adding two losses to his and Everton’s resume.
Tottenham and Manchester United aren’t much separated from Newcastle in the table, so the concern coming from Blue Merseyside is understandable.
When it came to flipping pieces and bolstering their roster, Everton took advantage of Richarlison’s €58m sale to pay for more than half of all of the money the club spent in the most recent transfer market and ahead of this season.
The brass in Merseyside probably knew that not having Richarlison around was going to hurt them bad. If they didn’t, then they know now: Everton has scored just eight goals through MD11—in other words, the joint third-least strikes so far this season.
No other player was sold for an actual profit, although the truth is that we’re talking about a near-Championship-level team here, so that might make sense and not be of high concern for them.
In terms of additions, Conor Coady (not in the chart above) and James Tarkowski have been absolutely phenomenal and game-changers and it’s easy to see Everton sitting in relegation places had it not been for their presence on the back line.
Onana has yet to prove his price was right, but he’s already contributed a dime in his 644 minutes of playing time. Maupay has banged one goal, Anthony Gordon a couple more, but again, it’s all been about the D-men: no need to mention Coady has more assists and goals (one of each) than all Everton players with the exception of the reborn Alex Iowbi (one goal, three dimes).
Magpies and Toffees have faced each other 180 times starting their battle all the way back in 1898 when the latter defeated the former by a final score of 3-0. No luck in the next two games with a draw and a win for the Magpies in a series that has been historically very balanced.
Newcastle have gotten the better of Everton 69 times with Everton winning 75 and both drawing 36 matches. Most recently, though, Newcastle have gotten the better of Everton in three of the last five matches with only one win to the Toffees and a 2-2 draw in Jan. 2020.
It’s funny to list the starters on Newcastle’s front: Dubby; Krafth, Lascelles, Manquillo, Schar; Longstaff, Shelvey, Joelinton; Fraser, ASM, Wilson. You can count how many of those have a chance to repeat tomorrow with a hand and you might still be left with a few free fingers to spare.
As already talked about above, Gordon is not Gordon but actually, Iwobi is Gordon, somehow, someway. The do-it-all midfielder and former Gunner has been exceptional this season and is the clear star of the Toffees after 10 games of play. Not saying Gordon has been good, but he’s definitely not been Chelsea-level good and one could argue the Blues from London clearly did the better thing passing on paying for him—for now, at least.
At the end of the day, it feels like cutting Everton’s supply, which exclusively comes from Iwobi, would suffice to stop them from doing anything (at all) and remove any potential danger they’ll be trying to bring to SJP on Wednesday evening.
Not forgetting about England international and goalie Jordan Pickford, who faces a tough game with Nick Pope at the other end. Battle at distance, this one, but still a nice one to watch develop tomorrow as the two GKs are expected to be the Three Lions 1A/1B keepers in Qatar next month.
Also: watch out for those corner-kicks, Tarkowski, and Coady.
Eddie Howe spoke to the media on Tuesday providing some fresh takes on Newcastle’s state of affairs one day before the game.
On Fabian Schar:
“He’s fine. He’s been nursing a foot injury for a while now.”
“He’s managed it very well but it just reared its head towards the end of the Man Utd game but I think he’ll be fine.”
On Alexander Isak:
“We don’t think we’ll see Alex back before the World Cup. Unfortunately he’s had a setback on his thigh.”
“It’s been very frustrating for him as a new player in a new league. I thought he was acclimatising well and picked up the injury with Sweden.”
On Allan Saint-Maximin:
“Maxi has had a very minor irritation to his hamstring but it is the third time that’s happened.”
“Although it is a minor injury, because of the recurrence we might have to be careful with him but we hope to see him before the World Cup break.”
On Jonjo Shelvey:
“We are continuing to work him very hard but he’s still in the early stages of coming back. We’re building his load and building his training time but he’s looking really good.”
“We just want to be careful in the latter stages of his injury.”
First midweek match in ages, the last before the break when it comes to Premier League games—with the EFL Cup against Crystal Palace coming later on Nov. 9 (Wednesday).
When and Where’s flowin’
- Date: Wednesday, October 19th
- Kick-off: 19:30 BST / 14:30 EST / 12:30 PST
- Location: St James’ Park (England)
- Broadcasts: Amazon Prime Video (UK), Peacock (USA), fuboTV (Canada)
For all your international watching needs, check LiveSoccerTV.com.
How’s it goin’
Coming Home, Crystal Ball: Newcastle 2-0 Everton
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Howay the Lads!