Everton away – a fixture we’ve tended to struggle in over the last 10 years, but we’re coming into this one with a very different outlook.
Here’s a few players to watch out for tomorrow:
Cenk Tosun– The ex-NUFC target took time to settle on Merseyside (mainly down to Allardyce’s baffling reluctance to throw him in), however he’s got 4 goals in 8 Premier League starts and looks the sort of ‘proper striker’ we’d have loved at St James’. He looks a good footballer, a hard worker and a handful. One to watch for Lascelles and Lejeune tomorrow.
Theo Walcott – One of Everton’s top performers since he arrived from Arsenal in January. He’ll drift inside (creating space for Coleman) and look to make runs in behind, being someone who’s a surprisingly calm finisher and very quick.
Seamus Coleman – He may have missed a big chunk of the season after a nasty leg break, but he’s come straight back in at Everton and shown tremendous energy. He’d a terrier and it’ll be interesting to see how Dummett and Kenedy deal with him and Kenedy down their right.
Jordan Pickford – He’s made a few mistakes when I’ve watched him recently, but he’s England’s current number one for a reason. He’s an impressive shot stopper and good with the ball at his feet (watch out for his long kicks!).
Predicted Everton XI – (4-2-3-1) – Pickford – Coleman, Keane, Jagielka, Baines – Gueye, Schneiderlin – Walcott, Rooney, Bolasie – Tosun.
For an inside look into this weekend’s opponents, take a look at the latest edition of the ‘Opposition Opinion’ . A great insight into this weekend’s opponents.
Newcastle – 10th (41 pts) – Last 5 in the league – Won: 4 / Drawn: 0 / Lost: 1
Everton – 9th (42 pts) – Last 5 in the league – Won: 2 / Drawn: 2 / Lost: 1
Christian Atsu seems to be the only senior player unavailable for tomorrow’s game, with Benitez confirming that he’s got a ‘little problem’ with his knee and will miss out of this one.
For Everton, £45m man Gylfi Sigurdsson remains out with a knee injury and defender Mason Holgate will also miss out with an ankle problem.
Allardyce is the sort of manager who sets his team up not to be beaten and Rafa Benitez teams are often compact and hard to beat, so I’m not expecting too many goals.
The momentum is all with us and it could get ugly for the home side if we score early and pile even more pressure on Big Sam, but I think this could end up a scrappy draw.
After the win over Arsenal, there’s a chance we become complacent (with all involved now knowing we’re safe), but I think it’s more likely that we play with confidence and a little more freedom in a bid to keep the run going, continue our march up the table and secure a top 10 finish.
If we can keep Baines/Bolasie and Coleman/Walcott quiet, win the midfield battle and see Slimani start and make a similar sort of impact then I really fancy us, but my head’s saying draw.
Prediction: Everton 1-1 Newcastle
Howay the lads!