After the low of Tuesday night and the hammer blow of Fellaini’s injury, Everton are in desperate need of some respite as David Moyes and his jekyll and hide squad travel north to play Newcastle
Newcastle Intel & Strategy
Despite the best efforts of the massive bell end that is Mike Ashley, Newcastle have been incredibly steady on the pitch this season, comfortably treading water in the middle ground of the Premier League. Their success this campaign has been built on solid week in week performances from Barton, Nolan, Tiote and the consistently excellent Enrique at left back. Despite having the look of an ageing out of shape darts player, Nolan has been impressive for the Geordies, chipping in with 11 goals. This has been vital as with Shandy Carroll now ensconced at The Tin Mine, they look a bit short of goals up front with Peter Lovenkrands, Leon Best and Shola Ameobi. It is interesting to note then that St James Park has seen more Premier League goals than any other ground this season, with 51 being scored in total, an average of 3.6 per game.
Evertonian Joey Barton has provided the creativity spark, with 6 assists although he is an injury doubt for this fixture with Stephen Ireland on standby to make his debut. Tiote has screened the defence well, winning more tackles than any other NUFC player with a completion rate of 77%, he is tidy in possession also as the below chalkboard shows. Whilst impressive in the tackle, his completion is quite a way behind Seamus Coleman, comfortably our best tackler with a success rate of 88%.
Tiote Chalkboard from Everton 0-1 Newcastle , September 2010 – successfully completing 46 out of 47 passes in the 90minutes. Impressive.
With Cahill and Fellaini out injured David Moyes doesn’t really have too much in terms of selection dilemmas for this match as the team pretty much picks itself. Beckford and Saha will start up front with Rodwell and Arteta both probably playing quite deep in midfield. Osman will continue on the left and Seamus Coleman will play as the most advanced midfielder on the right with the defence unchanged for the 4th game on the spin. Newcastle can often keep a high defensive line and this could present us with an opportunity with Beckford and Coleman’s pace in behind. Baines again will supply the biggest threat from the left flank and from dead balls.
As the above graph shows, we tend to keep the ball better than Newcastle and this will be key to us getting any kind of result in what will be a tough fixture.
The Geordies have been steady throughout although their best results have come on their travels with wins at Arsenal and also at Goodison back in September. They have been solid at home under Pardew only losing once since he took the reigns. Our form is erratic. Great displays home and away against Chelsea and last weeks solid win against Sunderland have been punctured by woeful reverses to lesser sides in the shape of Bolton & Reading.
Last time out
In the reverse fixture at Goodison a great strike from Ben Arfa gave Newcastle a deserved 3 points in a game were Everton simply didn’t compete. As good a goal as it was from Ben Arfa, the failure to press the Frenchman by Heitinga was criminal and summed up the angry Dutchman’s limp contribution to our season. Ultimately our defensive record has been poor all season; with a common theme of giving away cheap goals early on in games and not having the ability to break down well organized teams. In many ways the Newcastle defeat at Goodison was a microcosm of our season.
I have been reliably informed from a Newcastle fanzine that the Toon haven’t recorded a home top flight win on a Saturday 3pm kick off for 2.5 years!…a record stretching back to 23 Aug 2008. Newcastle have drawn 43%of their home games and Everton 50% of their away games, so this game has scoredraw written all over it and probably 2-2.
If you are looking for a preview from the opposition perspective, I would recommend this blog by a Newcastle fan – well worth a read.