Premier League Preview: Newcastle United vs. Everton

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• Everton have won four of the last five meetings between these sides, with one draw.

• Newcastle equalled their club record of 12 Premier League away defeats in a calendar year against Manchester United on Boxing Day.

• Gareth Barry became the first player in Premier League history to reach 100 yellow cards against Stoke on Boxing Day.  

As of late, Everton and Newcastle have faced adversity.

The Toffees have lost two straight: one match a 3-0 loss to Southampton as an unfortunate Romelu Lukaku own goal spurred two other scores from talented striker Graziano Pelle and center back Maya Yoshida. The other contest saw Roberto Martinez’s side unable to manage a draw against Stoke City in a 1-0 scoreline, with both squads now positioned one point within each other in the Premier League table.

The Magpies have dropped three consecutive games. Manchester United most recently downed them on Boxing Day, 3-0, and it appeared the Red Devils were clicking on all cylinders while the opposing United fell flat. Then, a similar result to Arsenal and a 1-0 defeat to Southampton have Alan Pardew looking for some consistency.

The main storyline in this competition revolves around the fact that, yes, there have been struggles across the board. But it’s the lack of starting goalkeepers that could effect this one; Tim Howard suffered an pulled calf during Everton’s Boxing Day difficulty, and he’s set to be sidelined tomorrow. For Newcastle, Tim Krul and Rob Elliot are both out, so rookie Jan Elwick will man the keeper spot again.

The game will be available on NBCSN at 11:15 PM ET, or online at NBC Sports Live Extra.

What they’re saying

Everton manager Roberto Martinez on last bad result–Boxing Day (Daily Mail):  “I don’t think in general we are lacking confidence, but I think this is a moment of the season that is pivotal for us – seeing how we can react…But football gives you these sorts of challenges, and this is the challenge of the season. We need to make sure we get through this period stronger than ever, and that could really give us a very strong second half of the season.”

Newcastle United boss Alan Pardew talks end of 2014 year for squad (ChronicleLive): “We have two home games now and we need to try to take four points from those games. That would stabilise our position, then we need to get players back. The margins are that tight – it’s tough if you have two senior players missing, we had nine not involved and that’s too many. We’ve had that for a good two and a half months now.”

Other injuries/match absences

Mehdi Abeid may not take the pitch following his injury during Boxing Day, and Siem de Jong hasn’t reached full fitness yet.

Phil Jagielka and Kevin Mirallas, two key men for Everton, are likely to not have a role in tomorrow’s match as well. Steven Naismith will definitely not see the field, due to a one-match ban.

Prediction

Romelu Lukaku must have a notable attacking presence in this game, and if he does, Everton should take care of business against the Magpies. It should be closely contested, though. Everton 2-1 Newcastle