Alan Pardew completes his three game stadium ban so once again it will be John Carver in the dugout going toe-to-toe against Roberto Martinez.
Everton have been going well in the league and find themselves sitting in sixth position occupying what is the final space for European qualification this season. Ideally placed to pip Manchester United to that spot and perhaps mount a late charge for a Champions League place, Martinez’s men will be looking for another three points at St James’ Park.
For United it seems as though this is a dead rubber. With only an outside chance of qualifying for Europe it seems the biggest issue facing Newcastle is whether we finish above or below Southampton. However a win would put us within five points of Everton so perhaps there might be something to aim for after all.
Loic Remy and Mathieu Debuchy are both missing once more as is Davide Santon who has been rules out despite closing in on a return. Ryan Taylor remains injured long-term.
Steven Pienaar, Lacina Traore, Arouna Kone, Darron Gibson and Bryan Oviedo are all out of action for the Toffees although Phil Jagielka could be set for a return after being declared “medically fully fit” by Roberto Martinez.
United lost the reverse fixture at Goodison Park 3-2 earlier on in the season and our recent record against Everton is not good. We haven’t won any of the last four matches – a run that stretches back to November 2011.
This is a fixture that very much favours the home side historically with 80 matches played on Tyneside and United winning 43 of them compared to only 18 victories for Everton.
However their superior record at Goodison Park means that overall the head-to-head is very close indeed. A total of 162 matches have been played to date with United winning 66, Everton winning 62 and 35 draws making up the rest.
Stats and facts…
This fixture has produced 17 penalties – the joint highest of any other fixture in the history of the Premier League.
United have scored four goals beyond the 90-minute mark this season – beaten only by Manchester City who have found the net six times at the death.
Leighton Baines has scored all 12 penalties he has taken in the Premier League.
Romelu Lukaku has averaged a goal a game against us.
The win against Palace on Saturday wasn’t pretty but it was welcome all the same. Everton will present a different problem as they need the points for different reasons and, with the greatest of respect, are better than Crystal Palace so Roberto Martinez might well instruct his team to come and have a bit more of a go at us than Tony Pulis did.
Everton are a good side and we’re at the stage of the season now where the table doesn’t lie, but they have been vulnerable on the road as of late. It’s going to come down to who performs best on the day.
Finally a note about the referee. It’s Mike Jones. Some of you probably haven’t a clue who he is but just to refresh your minds he was the guy who chalked off Cheik Tiote’s long-range strike against Manchester City not so long back so don’t expect any favours from the Chester-based official.
Howay the lads!
Date: Tuesday, 25th March, 2014
Venue: St James’ Park