Toffees out to make Toon toil - Betting Preview
In two consecutive games, scoring three goals at both Old Trafford and the Emirates Stadium would lead to expectations of victory. Yet, having taken 0 points from those two games, Alan Pardew must look to his defence, who have seen 11 goals shipped in 4-3 and 7-3 defeats.
Without Danny Simpson and Steven Taylor, Pardew is left with little option, yet with the January transfer window now open, he must be in the market for a defender. Last season's heroic 5th placed finish was built upon defensive stability, and the lack of said stability this year has led to the Magpies falling to 15th at the turn of the year. Their festive run was underpinned by their frailties at the back, yet their Senegalese striker Demba Ba stole the headlines.
With a well-publicised release clause in his contract, Ba has found himself at the centre of much speculation over the past week, but with 13 goals this season in the league, which account for half of Newcastle's haul; Pardew will know that hanging on to the striker will be vital. Of course, if Ba were to leave, the St James' Park faithful will turn to their attentions to fellow Senegalese front man, Papiss Cisse.
After a strong end to last season, Cisse has failed to impress so far this season, and the Everton defence will be confident of stopping him at St James. Their tight home defeat against Chelsea will have hurt, especially as they led so early through a powerful Steven Pienaar strike. The loss ended a seven game unbeaten run, and was compounded by the injury to midfielder Darren Gibson, who has evolved to become an integral part to the Everton set-up.
His absence will be softened somewhat by the return of key playmaker Marouane Fellaini after a three-game suspension ends. The Belgian has provided flashes of brilliance this season, and much like Demba Ba, has attracted interest from some of the best clubs in Europe, as well as Arsenal. Whilst Felliani's suspension has proven slightly costly to the Toffee's hopes of Champions League football, David Moyes will look to improvements in his defence, as the Merseyside team have conceded in every one of their past 15 matches.
That run has been made to look bearable by Everton's impressive scoring run. Having netted in 17 straight matches, their strike force will take the plaudits, yet it is Leighton Baines, who creates on average more than 3 chances a game, who leads the league in assists. Making the most of that creation has been Croatian striker Nikica Jelavic. Since signing from Rangers a year ago, Jelavic has averaged almost a goal every other game, and stepped up for Moyes when most needed, including a late winner against Spurs last month.
Coverage of the game begins on Sky Sports 1 at 19:30, kicking off half an hour later, and we are offering over 180 markets pre-match, as well as 100+ in-play, so stay with William Hill - the Home of Betting.
- Newcastle have lost only one of their last 10 Premier League home games against Everton.
- Everton have hit the woodwork 17 times in the Premier League this season, more than any other side (Man Utd 14).
- Everton have also scored in their last 17 league games, the best run in the Premier League this season and their best since 24 in a row in 1985-86.
- But the Toffees have also conceded in each of their last 15, a Premier League high this season.
- Newcastle have conceded more headed goals (11) than any other team while only Man Utd have scored more than Everton (9).
- Everton had more headed shots in 2012 than any other Premier League side (114).
- The Magpies picked up 73 bookings in 2012, more than any other side.
- Leighton Baines has created more chances per game than any other player this season (3.35)
- Newcastle have conceded 11 goals in their last two league games.
Enhanced Wincasts: Papiss Cisse to score and Newcastle to win: 5/1