The Soccer Desk

Match Preview: Everton vs. Newcastle

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by Julian Brown and David Caruso

After two straight victories against Chelsea and West Ham, the Toffees will yet again have home advantage on their side, as Goodison Park plays host to Newcastle United this Monday.  Unfortunately for the Toffees, another early League Cup exit after a loss to Fulham at Craven Cottage Tuesday may have their spirits down.

Roberto Martinez’s club will have to put the loss behind them though, especially being on home soil.  Everton rarely play poorly at Goodison so this is a big advantage. As mentioned eariler, their two league wins in a row against Chelsea and West Ham have to stay at the front of their minds.

One would also have to think that Nikica Jelavić will not get the starting nod at forward come Monday.  His scoreless drought dates back to last March, and after a poor display agaisnt West Ham, the veteran Croatian was pulled in favor of Romelu Lukaku for the second half,  picking up the winning goal in the process.  It won’t come as much of a shock if the young Belgian is front and center come the first half kick-off.

Look for Everton to come out looking like this:

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It goes back to the old saying, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”  Martinez should deploy his squad much the same way he did in the win against the Hammers.  There is a small chance that Oviedo could start in place of Osman to give the veteran a break, but other than that, it should stay the same.

With this lineup – and Lukaku’s breakout match – the Blues should pick up a 2-0 win over the Toons with the Goodison faithful behind them.  Speaking of the Toons…

Saturday’s home loss to newly promoted Hull City greatly troubled Newcastle, inspiring a fiery response from captain Fabricio Collocini and boss Alan Pardew.  However, the 2-3 defeat should be a cause of concern to Everton as well.  While the loss snapped Newcastle’s two-game winning streak, it left them with two consecutive games scoring two goals.  The scoring streak began after Pardew switched from a 4-4-2 to a 4-3-3 with Hatem Ben Arfa, Papiss Cisse and Loic Remy out front and Yohan Cabaye at center midfield.  I expect the fans at Goodison Park to see the same.  As Pardew said earlier this season, “It makes a heck of a difference to a team when it thinks it can score goals.  This team can score goals now.”

With Remy scoring twice last week, Ben Arfa with two on the season and Yoan Gouffran who has already scored off the bench, the Magpies have shown their claws.  This week Pardew has urged their number nine Papiss Cisse, who after the Hull match hadn’t scored in eleven straight, to show his.  Cisse responded with a goal on Wednesday against Leeds in Newcastle’s 2-0 Capital One Cup victory.

An away side that can score presents a threatening opponent to any home side.  Newcastle’s recent defensive lapses, though, provide Everton with some breathing room should the Magpies score an early goal.  Saturday saw Newcastle give up two leads before finally giving up the match.  The hope for Newcastle and the fear for Everton will be if the defense that allowed only one goal in three matches against West Ham, Fulham and Aston Villa board the bus to Goodison Park.  While the Black and White defense may be questionable, Tim Krul remains reliable, and at times outstanding, as goalkeeper.  Toon fans hope that Collocini’s post-defeat speech will inspire his fellow back four mates Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Davide Santon and Matthieu Debuchy to a better performance.  Their line-up should look as follows, however don’t be surprised to see a fit Mike Williamson in the back or a healthy Jonas Gutierrez in the midfield.

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As for predictions, I think the scoring will continue.  Wednesday’s Cup victory brings the Magpies into the match on an up note and with three straight two-goal matches.  It will be up to the defense to back it up on their end but if they do their job, Cisse and company may snag not just a point but three while handing Everton their first defeat of the season.  2-1 Newcastle.

 

photo courtesy of PA