The next few days could well determine Everton’s Premier League status.
Two defeats and it will be very hard to envisage the Blues staying up. Two wins and you’d back Everton to stay up. Anything in between… the very real threat persists.
Newcastle aren’t the ideal visitors at such a point in the season. Eddie Howe has transformed the Magpies into a serious top four outfit that has lost just four games this season. At the weekend they put in their performance of the season with a 6-1 thumping of Spurs, with the Magpies five goals up within the first quarter of the game.
So how will Sean Dyche set up his Blues to at least be more resistant than Spurs?
Let’s take a look…
There’s not much new injury news.
Seamus Coleman and Amadou Onana have been “out on the grass” and “decisions” will be made on them, but to be honest I’d be surprised if either started considering we also have a massive game coming up on Monday.
Abdoulaye Doucoure returns from suspension as Mason Holgate misses out for his own red card at the weekend.
Other than that, Andros Townsend remains out and there’s no word on whether Ruben Vinagre is fit again, not that it really matters.
EVERTON SQUAD AVAILABLE VS NEWCASTLE
Goalkeepers: Pickford, Begovic, Lonergan,
Defenders: Keane, Mina, Godfrey, Tarkowski,
Holgate (SUSPENDED), Coady, Mykolenko, Coleman (DOUBT), Patterson, Vinagre (DOUBT), Welch, Samuels-Smith
Midfielders: Doucoure, Iwobi, Davies, Onana (DOUBT), Gueye, Garner, Price
Townsend (INJURED), McNeil, Mills
Attackers: Calvert-Lewin, Maupay, Simms
Tactics and Formation
Dyche will be forced into at least one change, with Holgate sent off in a pretty horrendous showing.
Ben Godfrey seems to be favoured at right-back to the much more progressive Nathan Patterson, so he’ll likely get the nod unless Seamus is deemed fit enough.
In midfield, Doucoure will surely return after suspension. The question is whether he comes in for a straight swap with James Garner or both line-up either side of Idrissa Gueye in Dyche’s initial 4-5-1 preference.
I’d wager it will be Doucoure for Garner and the rest stay the same, although the Blues did look more dynamic with a midfield three – in which case Alex Iwobi or Demarai Gray would have to drop out.
Starters (likelihood of starting rated out of 10)
Jordan Pickford – 10/10
Ben Godfrey – 6/10
Vitaliy Mykolenko - 8/10
James Tarkowski – 9/10
Michael Keane – 9/10
Abdoulaye Doucoure – 8/10
Idrissa Gana Gueye – 9/10
Dwight McNeil – 9/10
Alex Iwobi – 8/10
Demarai Gray – 7/10
Dominic Calvert-Lewin – 8/10