After Boxing Day's dispirited showing by Everton, fans will be hoping to see a much-improved performance from the Toffees as they travel to Newcastle United today. The Blues have been simply woeful in their last few games and as a result have been sliding further and further down the table. Everton are currently twelfth, with just 21 points from this campaign so far and with today's game marking the halfway point of the season, they are headed for a meager forty or so point haul for the season, which should be just enough to stave off relegation, but way off the rarefied air of Champions League qualification that Roberto Martinez had quite pompously promised Bill Kenwright and the fans.
Injuries and poor form have beset the Blues, and club captain Phil Jagielka and goalie Tim Howard are expected to miss out with injuries today. Youngster John Stones who just returned from a long-term injury ended the Stoke game hobbling around uncomfortably too and could be a last-minute decision.
Apart from beating leaders Chelsea in a hotly-contested clash, December has been a rough month for Alan Pardew's Newcastle. They were soundly spanked away at Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United too, and lost a Tyneside derby against Sunderland at St. James Park too.
Here are the squads for today -
Everton XI - Joel, Coleman, Distin, Alcaraz, Garbutt, Baines, Barry (C), McCarthy, McGeady, Eto'o, Kone
Everton subs - Griffiths, Oviedo, Lukaku, Mirallas, Besic, Barkley, Browning
Newcastle XI - Alnwick; Janmaat, Coloccini (c), Williamson, Dummett; Perez, Sissoko, Tiote, Colback, Gouffran; Cisse.
Newcastle subs - Woodman, Santon, S.Taylor, Anita, Cabella, Riviere, Armstrong.
Join us in the comments below, as we wait expectantly to see if Everton can sink even further, or have hit rock bottom and are on the way up after this.