Newcastle have been handed a series of lucky breaks ahead of their clash with Everton on Sunday – as FOUR key players could be set to sit this one out for the table-topping Toffees.
First of all, Richarlison will miss the game as he’s still serving his three game suspension for his red card in the Merseyside Derby. This is the final game of a three game suspension; so we’ll luckily avoid the dangerous Brazilian.
Lucas Digne is pivotal to Everton’s success with his set-piece delivery, composure going forward and ability to supply Calvert-Lewin with quality crosses. Fortunately, he’s also missing out due to suspension as a result of his red card against Southampton last week.
The ban had been reduced from three matches to one, but that means he still can’t play against us.
On the defensive end, Everton will be missing both club captain Seamus Coleman and his back-up Jonjo Kenny due to injury. This means centre-back Ben Godfrey will have to fill in at right-back, which will give Saint-Maximin a lot of confidence going forward – especially if he watched his struggling display at Southampton over the weekend.
The last – and arguably most important – is that they might be without star man and top creator James Rodriguez, who has started the season brilliantly.
According to Ancelotti, the Colombian ‘felt his muscle a little bit’ against Southampton – a game he was only just fit enough to start – so he’s touch and go for Sunday.
All these factors also mean that the service for the talismanic Dominic Calvert-Lewin will be seriously depleted, which is comforting considering how lethal he has been this term.
Nevertheless, Everton aren’t top of the table for no reason and have a master tactician behind them in Carlo Ancelotti – not forgetting the fact they’ll be looking to respond after their first loss of the season last weekend. After all, Manchester United were a shadow of their normal side when we faced them, and we still sat back and lost 4-1.
It’s still going to be a tough afternoon for NUFC – especially if Bruce sets us up like he did against Wolves!