Last updated & checked: 10/08/2021
After a positive start to the Carlo Ancelotti era, Everton face their first away trip under the former Milan manager, and it will be an interesting test of the new boss. Hosts Newcastle have performed above expectations for much of the season, but their Boxing Day outing at Old Trafford ended in a thumping 4-1 defeat which could easily have been a lot worse. Will the quick turnaround give the Magpies a chance to rinse that result away, or will their confidence have been dented too severely to be repaired in a short time?
Home boss Steve Bruce will be hoping that the loss was a temporary slip. Last weekend’s win over Crystal Palace showed that the North-East side can defend solidly and take chances when they arise – but they may well find this hard against a Toffees side that has all of the fundamentals in place and has just needed the right manager to make them work.
Newcastle United vs Everton Prediction: Newcastle United 0-1 Everton
This match is a tricky one to predict with any real confidence. Ancelotti has had, at most, a few days to work with his new players and little time to stamp any footballing philosophy on them. Bruce, for his part, has been doing his best with the tools thrown at his feet by Magpies owner Mike Ashley, and both sides are more likely to be cautious than to take the game to their opponent. The deciding factor may be the presence of a new man in the away dugout – Everton’s players will be keen to impress the boss, and this may translate into a narrow win against a bruised opponent.
Our recommended tip: Under 2.5 Goals
Newcastle’s shot-shy style is perhaps best summed up by the goal return from among their attacking players – last Saturday’s winner, notched by Miguel Almiron, was the Paraguayan playmaker’s first-ever score for the club. It came in his 28th appearance. Everton are similarly unburdened by goal-hungry forwards, with Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin each having six to their names in the league. The teams have between them 40 goals in the first half of this season, and Paddy Power’s 8/11 odds on this being a low-scoring clash are well worth a look.
The corresponding fixture last season saw these sides meet in early March, with Newcastle still not sure of escaping relegation. Their fears deepened significantly in the first half as they fell 2-0 behind to Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison strikes, with the latter coming after Matt Ritchie had missed a chance to level the scores from the penalty spot. The second half saw a complete role-reversal, though, as Salomon Rondon and Ayoze Perez netted to level the scores, before Perez scored again in controversial circumstances to make it 3-2, which is how it finished.
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Players to watch: Miguel Almiron & Lucas Digne
Almiron has become something of a figure of fun among pundits for his goal-shy start to his Newcastle career, but in truth, he’s an attacking midfielder in a side that doesn’t do much attacking, so opportunities have been limited. His giddy celebrations on breaking his duck, along with his tireless running and prompting of attacking team-mates, are indicative of an excellent attitude which will serve him well, and have played their part in lifting Newcastle above the relegation fray.
Everton have appointed a no-excuses, big-name, star manager, but they may need to fund his plans by signing a few players who match that billing if they want to see results. One player that they can count on to play up to the standard required is Digne, signed from Barcelona and capable of showing why the Catalan giants signed him in the first place. An excellent set-piece taker, the French international is capable of scoring from a dead-ball himself as well as slinging in tempting deliveries for his team-mates.