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Everton vs Newcastle: Match Preview - Toffees need to rediscover home comforts

Sean Dyche’s side face two huge home games in the space of four days

Everton FC v Newcastle United - Premier League Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Everton can climb out of the Premier League relegation zone with victory over Newcastle on Thursday.

Defeats for Burnley, Sheffield United and Luton this week mean the Toffees can haul themselves back over the safety line for the first time since that 10-point deduction, a psychologically significant moment.

Of course, without the deduction Everton would be safely in mid-table and eyeing the top half, but any assumptions about an appeal need to be put to one side.

With Chelsea lying in wait on Sunday this is the start of a busy festive period where the Toffees could do with rediscovering their home form.

Sean Dyche’s side are impressive on the road, winning six of their nine away games in all competitions. But Goodison results are a lot more patchy, with just two wins and four defeats from eight games so far.

The opposition

Newcastle United v Manchester United - Premier League Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Much of the hype building up tot his game is the return to Goodison of Anthony Gordon, who left in acrimonious circumstances in January. His reaction following Newcastle’s 4-1 win over the Toffees in April, where he was seen celebrating enthusiastically in the tunnel, has wound up some Everton fans even more, though the winger himself has tried to play down the significance of his return.

Having seen plenty of players come and go over the years I am not going to get to wound up about it either and I hope it does not become a distraction. Everton got a good fee for a player who was not performing at his best and given their financial strife that cash may been even more valuable than we thought at the time.

The Magpies arrive at Goodison Park with a lengthy injury list, with goalkeeper Nick Pope the latest to be ruled out after dislocating his shoulder.

Despite their absentees Newcastle have a steely edge under Eddie Howe, as shown in recent wins over Chelsea and Manchester United in the league, plus a battling Champions League draw at PSG, where they were denied victory in the final seconds.

They also have the edge over Everton in recent meetings, winning five of the last six matches between the sides, including doing the double over them last season.

Previous meeting

Everton 1-4 Newcastle April 27 2023

FBL-ENG-PR-EVERTON-NEWCASTLE Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images

The stench of relegation hung low over Goodison after this miserable defeat at the end of April. The Toffees made a bright start but faded after Callum Wilson put Newcastle in front, with Jacob Murphy, Joelinton and Wilson again wrapping up a thumping win in the closing stages.

A night to forget.

Team news

Everton Training Session Photo by Tony McArdle/Everton FC via Getty Images

Dominic Calvert-Lewin is back in contention after he missed the win at Forest with a minor calf injury.

Amadou Onana is back in training after a calf issue but is only rated as “touch and go” by Dyche.

Andre Gomes played an hour for the U21s in midweek but is not yet ready to return. Dele Alli is back training but not in contention.

What they said

Nottingham Forest v Everton FC - Premier League Photo by MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Everton boss Sean Dyche: “The performances have been generally good. It helps to bond the players even tighter. I think it’s coming - that real belief in each other as a team, and I think that’s growing all the time.

“I’m not really overthinking what’s happened. It’s time to move on. We certainly can’t get involved in other people’s results because we have to look after ourselves.

“I think there’s been a good atmosphere [in the squad] all season - the clarity of their thoughts to play; the clarity of their thoughts to win games, or attempt to win games, has been really pleasing.

“I’ve always said we have quality. The teamship and the belief in each other have improved. I like that even though we’ve taken a knock with the 10 points, the mentality has stayed firm. They’re sticking to the beliefs in the side and they’re sticking to the belief in each other that we are a good outfit, and that’s got to be maintained and built upon.”

Newcastle United Training Session Photo by Serena Taylor/Newcastle United via Getty Images

Newcastle boss Eddie Howe: “They have made big strides as a team. They’re very competitive and the biggest challenge for us is to make sure that we compete as they do.

“They’re a very physical team and have obvious strengths. They will pose questions for us defensively which we have to answer. You have the crowd and that dynamic and the situation they’re in with the points deduction and what that’s done of them collectively.

“We’ll look forward to this game. It’s a big game for us when we go to Tottenham next in the middle of a good run in the Premier League for us. We know our away form has to improve.”

Final word

Goodison under lights should be a fortress for Everton, but it hasn’t been recently. They away form is fantastic but will be hard to sustain. It is time to start picking up some points in L4.