Everton play host to Newcastle for a rare Monday evening match for both sides. Ahead of this the SB Nation Newcastle site Coming Home Newcastle was kind enough to sit down and talk about the match with us. You can read our answers to their questions here.
RBM: How long has Alan Pardew got left?
CHN: I think we'll be seeing Pardew on the touchline for some time. He's in the 2nd year of an 8-year contract, and Mike Ashley is loathe to have to pay him to sit at home. He seems to have a knack for pulling out a result when things appear to be headed for a nosedive, which is maddening for a number of reasons, one of which is that his job always seems to be in jeopardy for one reason or another. That's not healthy for a club.
RBM: Is the team settled with so many new players from January having had time to settle?
CHN: I think the new players have been integrated just fine, yes. It helps in that regard that there was nobody else brought in during the summer, save for Loic Remy on loan from QPR. Pardew has plenty of options at most every position, and midweek European competition is no longer a go-to excuse. This team has the talent of a top-ten team. Now they just need to play like it.
RBM: Yohan Cabaye. Underrated or overrated?
CHN: The fact that you're asking about him instead of Hatem Ben Arfa, for example, probably means he's a bit overrated. He's not the straw that stirs the drink in Newcastle. His form dipped for a good portion of last year, but when he's on, he can impact a match like few players can. £25 million would have been a nice price for Newcastle, but they were right not to sell so late in the window when they hadn't found a replacement.
RBM: Who's your outstanding player?
CHN: Ben Arfa has been outstanding early on, and Loic Remy has been a spark plug when he's been fit enough to play. They should both be in the lineup this week, and they should cause problems on the edge and hopefully open things up for a maybe-kind-of-sort-of-rounding-into-form Papiss Cisse to do some damage from the 9 spot.
RBM: What's your view of Everton?
CHN: Every year we wonder if this is the year that they're going to break through to a Champions League spot. I'm at the point where I've got to see it to believe it, especially with a new manager. I'm envious of Leighton Baines, obviously. There's plenty of talent to go around. Everton always seem to do well at the close of the year (except for last season, I suppose), and that's been Roberto Martinez's calling card at Wigan, so maybe with a strong finish they'll be able to reach new heights. I respect the Toffees and always root for them against Liverpool, for what it's worth. As a partisan, I expect Newcastle to do well this weekend, though it's certainly a tough ask.
RBM: Predictions for the game, line up, score, etc
CHN: Last weekend's loss to Hull City was a bitter disappointment, but I still expect Alan Pardew to roll with the same lineup that played that match, with perhaps one or two exceptions.
Krul | Debuchy, Yanga-Mbiwa, Coloccini (C), Santon | Cabaye, Anita, Sissoko | Ben Arfa, Cisse, Remy
If anything, Tiote could replace Anita. If the midfield creates enough pressure that the full backs don't feel the impetus to move too far forward, I will feel good about their chances defensively. Newcastle get into trouble when they are pressed and when they are caught on counters, so I'm looking for a strong match from whoever plays the holding role, whether that is Anita, Sissoko, or Tiote in some combination. As I said above, Ben Arfa and Remy will try to run things and create one-on-one opportunities for Cisse to get shots away. If Cisse proves his midweek goal was a fluke, those two can create chances on their own.
I'm terrible at predictions, but I don't see either team keeping the other from scoring. I'll say 2-1 to Everton because they won't be satisfied with a draw at home, but I'm actually a bit more optimistic than that, if that makes sense. Good luck on Monday.
More from Royal Blue Mersey:
- Thursday Toffeelinks: Moyes v. Martinez, Heitinga Happy, & January
- Match Report: Fulham 2 - 1 Everton
- Everton at Fulham: Gamethread
- Everton at Fulham: Match Preview
- Everton at Fulham: Blogger Q&A