Newcastle v Everton
Sunday 22 February 2009,
St James’ Park
Newcastle United beat West Bromwich Albion 3-2 away in their last league outing, to end a run of six successive league games without a win.
In their last five matches, Newcastle have won one (against West Brom), drawn two (against Sunderland and West Ham) and lost two (against Manchester City and Blackburn), to earn themselves a total of five points from fifteen on offer. The Magpies have scored seven and conceded ten goals in these matches, as they currently sit 13th in the league.
Newcastle will be greatly boosted for this match, as they welcome back strikers Mark Viduka, Obafemi Martins and Alan Smith from injury.
In spite of this good news for their starting squad, the Toon still have a lengthy injury list, with Xisco (toe), Joey Barton (metatarsal), Michael Owen (ankle), Andy Carroll (ankle/foot), Tamas Kadar (broken leg), Danny Guthrie (hamstring), Habib Beye (knee), and Ignacio Gonzalez (Achilles Tendinopathy) all still unavailable.
With the news that manager Joe Kinnear will need to rest for at least two months after ungoing triple bypass surgery last Friday, assistant Chris Hughton and coach Colin Calderwood will be in charge of the Newcastle team until Kinnear’s return.
Everton beat Bolton Wanderers 3-0 at home in their last league encounter, to continue an impressive run of results that has seen the side lose only a single match in their last nine league outings.
In their last five league matches, the Toffees have won two (against Hull and Bolton), drawn two (against Liverpool and Arsenal) and lost one (against Manchester United), to earn themselves eight points from a possible fifteen on offer. Everton have scored seven goals and conceded three in these matches, as they currently sit 6th on the league ladder.
Everton will be without Leon Osman (leg), Ayegbeni Yakubu (calf) and James Vaughan (knee), although Louis Saha and Marouane Fellaini may be fit for a return.
The two sides drew 2-2 earlier this season, with Newcastle winning the corresponding fixture last season 3-2 at St James’ Park.
In spite of fielding a side that was missing some key starting players, Everton recorded an extremely impressive 3-1 FA Cup victory over Aston Villa last weekend to progress to the quarter-finals for the first time since 2002. This performance reflects Everton’s current form, with some great results coming from the Toffees in both the Premier League and FA Cup in recent times.
The performances of Mikael Arteta and Tim Cahill in particular are worthy of mention, with both players recording six league goals and one FA Cup goal each this season. In addition, the recent loan signing of Brazilian striker Jo from Manchester City, who had a great debut against Bolton with two goals of his own, signal that only more good things are to come from an already talented Everton squad that are performing to their full potential.
Newcastle’s struggling squad will greatly be boosted by the return of some key attacking players, and this could pose a threat to the Everton defense. However, the Toffees’ current superior form, as well as their impressive away record this season, should prove too much for a depleted Newcastle squad, and so Everton will go into this match as favourites for victory.
Back to the main Premier League Predictions page.