There is a shortage of Premier League action for the remainder of the month with the FA Cup having decimated the weekend fixture list and then the international break coming along but we do have one contest on Thursday evening and it is a massive one at the bottom end of the table.
It sees Everton hosting Newcastle United at Goodison Park in an absolutely massive match for the home side, who are beginning to realise that relegation is a very real possibility if they don’t start winning matches soon. When this match was originally scheduled it looked a big one for Newcastle as well but that is no longer the case as much now.
Where to watch
This is one of the matches that was due to be on Amazon Prime Video over Christmas. It is still on that service and the build-up will begin at 7pm with the match kicking off at 7.45pm.
It is almost incredible to think that Everton were challenging for the top of the league when they took 13 points from their opening six matches. In the 20 outings they have had since they have accumulated just nine points and are dropping down the table like a stone. They are now above the drop zone on just goal difference and although they have plenty of matches in hand of those around them they have lost eight of their last nine matches so they aren’t going to count for much if their form doesn’t change soon.
The immediate issue they need to sort out is scoring goals. There is a lot of work to do defensively but you sense if the Toffees are going to remain in the Premier League it is at the top end of the pitch where they will secure their safety rather than what they do defensively. They look like a team who need a spark. When we saw them at Tottenham last week they were absolutely terrible and that doesn’t bode well.
It was only six weeks or so ago that Newcastle United looked in deep trouble but it is a sign of how quickly fortunes can change that eight games later they have left the relegation zone behind them and could very well finish in the top half at the end of the season if they go all the way to the line. I think most people expected Newcastle to improve come the end of January but they didn’t spend anything like as much as they were expected to so this rejuvenated form merits respect.
Newcastle have now won six of their last eight and saw a nine match unbeaten spell snapped at Chelsea at the weekend, although there is a serious case to be made that had Kai Havertz been given his marching orders like he should have been that the Toon would have left Stamford Bridge with something. I’m not really one for taking something in defeat but if a team can do that then it was Newcastle on Sunday it must be said.
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Everton are having to give a fitness test to forward Dominic Calvert-Lewin ahead of this match but they will definitely be without Jonjoe Kenny who is out with suspension after a red card last time out.
Newcastle United have Joe Willock back after he has recovered from an illness but there is a doubt over Joelinton and Jonjo Shelvey. Allan Saint-Maximin was a substitute at Stamford Bridge at the weekend and will be looking to start here.
This is one of those matches that I hate betting on because you know Everton aren’t going to go on losing forever but at the same time there has been no signs of their form changing in recent times, whereas Newcastle United are flying. The good thing if you are a believer that you can’t go on winning forever then the defeat for the Magpies on Sunday takes that issue away. They certainly weren’t disgraced in defeat though and I think they can bounce back here.
Whatever happens in this match there is nothing to suggest that Everton should be the favourites in it. They haven’t played well at home for a while now and all the metrics you would use to measure form both in the short and long term they are struggling on. The big issue for me is the lack of pace in their defence and that is something Newcastle have the personnel to exploit. I think it all points to Newcastle winning this match but such has been the schedule recently I’ll have some draw cover on my side.
Back Newcastle United (+0.25AH) to beat Everton for a 3/10 stake at 1.89 with BetVictor
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