Everton's recent resurgence (in the League at least) has seen them climb up to sixth. They host Newcastle United in the feature Monday night game at Goodison Park. Newcastle themselves have had a stop-go start, and have two wins, a draw and two losses to show so far. The Toffees versus Toon games last year were both pretty acrimonious affairs, expect another wide-open game on Monday with chances aplenty.
A quick look at Newcastle's attacking stats tells a lot - they have a very balanced attack, equally distributed between the wings and up the middle. They average about 50% on possession, so Everton should have the edge on that front. Newcastle are a pretty mixed bag, dribbling, crossing, long balls - Everton do all that as well, just better though. (Stats courtesy of WhoScored.com)
Team News -
Leon Osman, Steven Pienaar and Antolin Alcaraz remain injured. Darron Gibson played most of the Carling Cup game and should be expected to start alongside Gareth Barry in midfield. Romelu Lukaku has been a beast so far and should get the nod ahead of Nikica Jelavic as well.
For the visitors, Moussa Sissoko, Yohan Cabaye and Loic Remy will all be back. Shola Ameobi and Jonas Gutierrez could also make a return to the squad.
Keys To The Game -
Everton lead the League in ball possession stats. It's what they do with it that matters though. They finally found their scoring boots last weekend after halftime, though that was more due to the magic wand fitted in Leighton Baines' left boot than anything else. For spells during that second half and in the waning minutes of the midweek League Cup match, Everton were simply irresistible and Martinez will be looking for more of that.
Newcastle for their part are endowed with attacking talent, and play an open, passing style that should make for good viewing. Manager Alan Pardew will be encouraged to see Papiss Cisse break his 11-game dry spell, and Yoan Gouffran scored as well in their midweek Cup fixture. His biggest headache remains in defence though, where mistakes have plagued his side for well over a season now.
Match Facts -
The Blues are the only unbeaten side in the Premier League this season.
Everton have kept a clean sheet in their last seven games at Goodison.
Home sweet home for the Toffees, who have won 7 of their last 8 at home too.
If Barry plays tomorrow, he'll be the 10th player to have played in 500 Premier League games.
Newcastle have only won three away games, since the beginning of last season.