Everton look to carry over the momentum from Saturday’s emphatic 4-1 victory over Brentford into the ‘six pointer’ against fellow relegation threatened Newcastle. The northeast side have invested heavily in January after their recent billionaire takeover. If Frank Lampard’s men produce a carbon copy of the weekend’s game, I struggle to see anything over than a victory but with recent new recruits it’s going to be far from easy.
Newcastle sit 19th in the table with just two victories all season and only Norwich City have conceded more goals. Top goalscorer Callum Wilson currently sits on six goals but he has been ruled out of this fixture which will be music to the ears for Everton fans. Newcastle have the lowest possession average in the whole league which certainly goes against the usual philosophy of Eddie Howe but with the squad he’s taken over it’s a difficult task to implement that style.
The Magpies recently have setup in a 4-3-3 system after the surprising position change and excellent form of Joelinton. Usually a striker during his time in England, Eddie Howe has been deploying him in a more box-to-box midfield role which has seen him excel and become a key part of the Newcastle side. The majority of their tackles come in their defensive third and they are bottom for tackles in the final third. This is due to them sitting in a low block, inviting pressure and looking to counterattack with the pace they have. Only Norwich have applied less pressures in the final third which shows they don’t like to press high up the pitch. Also, they have touched the ball in the middle third less than any other side but I except this to change with the signing of Bruno Guimaraes.
The Brazilian international signed from Lyon after impressing in Ligue 1. The 24-year-old is a player that loves to get on the ball and play progressive passes, something which Newcastle have been lacking, shown by their lack of possession. No player in the whole league this season produced more progressive passes than Guimaraes and no player played more passes into the final third.
It’s not only his ability with the ball that is impressive, but he also ranks fourth for tackles won in the league. In addition to this, he ranks 5th in Ligue 1 for progressive carries. Just looking at statistics, it’s clear to see he’s an all-round, fantastic player. Despite the passing ability, he’s a box-to-box player who excels in all aspects of a midfielder game. Often mistaken for a deep lying playmaker due to his stats, he will pick the ball up in deep positions but carry it forward and play passes into the more advanced players. If he makes his Newcastle debut, he’s a player we have to look out for.
The obvious key player Everton must be wary of is Allan Saint-Maximin. With five goals and three assists, he’s by far their most effective dangerman. He often struggles with injuries but this season he’s managed to play more minutes than any other Newcastle player. He has completed 89 dribbles this season, streets ahead of second place Adama Traore with 62. With him likely to play off the left, it will be interesting to see if Frank Lampard goes with the experience of Seamus Coleman or the more athletic Nathan Patterson to deal with the threat of the Frenchman.
In Newcastle’s last fixture, Chris Wood won 15 headers against Leeds United. The forward has won more headers than any other player in the league and with Callum Wilson out injured I expect him to start this one. Hopefully, Yerry Mina is able to do something he’s struggled with this season and that is to play two games in one week as his aerial presence will be vital when they are pumping balls into the striker. Despite lacking goals this season, his ability to win headers will still cause us problems. With the little possession they have, when they do have the ball, they will aim to quickly get the ball forward and play off the striker.
Despite the success against Brentford, I would like to see Frank Lampard play a 433 system. The main reason being to accommodate either Dele Alli or Donny van de Beek who are both in the squad. It will be extremely difficult to drop any player from the weekend but with the ability Alli and Van de Beek have when arriving into the box from deep, there should be plenty of chances for them to get on the scoresheet. Both players are excellent at looking after the ball and with Everton dominating the game at the weekend under the new manager, it’s likely we will have a lot of the ball against Newcastle.
It’s all well and good winning handsomely in an FA Cup game but unfortunately in the position we’re currently in, every single Premier League game is like its own cup final. Adding to that the fact Newcastle sit down near the bottom of the table with us, it makes the game even more important.
It’s a fantastic chance to gather more momentum going into a little run of games against bottom half teams. With the new additions in the squad and Dominic Calvert-Lewin coming back from injury, there is plenty of options for Frank Lampard to choose from. If the game doesn’t go to plan throughout, there will be plenty of firepower waiting to come on and change the game. Just three victories can take us into the top half and with Leeds and Southampton coming up in the next few weeks, it’s a better chance than ever to start climbing the table again.