Newcastle arrive as visitors to Goodison Park after a very poor start
1 point from their first four games and failure to qualify for the group
stages of the Champions League. Just as last season, questions are
being asked of "old Man" Robson and Shearer. Have they both passed
their sell-by date? Have Shearer's legs gone? Undoubtedly the
answer to both questions is "No". Shearer will once again give our
backline a real test and the return of Bellamy will bring genuine pace to
Pace and drive is their fortι in the middle of the park with Robert,
Dyer, Solano, Jenas, Bowyer and Viana all willing to carry the ball
forward and Goodison's favourite ex-son Speed sitting in behind them.
On its day, that midfield is as good as anything you will see; however, it
does still lack experience and this allied to their tendency to
over-attack certainly allows the opposition to get at Newcastle's
weakest point: their defence!
At present, question marks exist over the availability of both Shay
Given and Jonathon Woodgate; however, it appears most likely that Given
will play and Woodgate miss out. Without Woodgate, the backline is
gaping with Titus Bramble and Andy O'Brien both questionable in their
decision-making and, whilst I am a fan of Bernard's attacking qualities,
he can get caught out at the back.
Everton: Any idea how we will line up? Moyes has based his
philosophy on the mantra that if you have the shirt and perform you keep
the shirt. Flip side of that is if you don't perform then you lose
the shirt after the Derby, I guess a lot of them are worried!
I can't imagine that Stubbs and Yobo will lose their places though
Yobo was perhaps the most disappointing in the derby. The full-backs
however could change. Unsworth was murdered by Diouf and I would
expect to see either Naysmith or Pistone line up at left-back with Hibbert
arriving on the other flank if Pistone switches.
Midfield should see Gravesen start in place of the departed Pembridge
in the middle with Kilbane making his debut on the left. Linderoth appears
likely to hold the middle with Li Tie's injury, and Watson has probably
been our most consistent performer voted August Player of the Month by
the discerning readers of ToffeeWeb!
Now we get to the forwards blimey!
We have already had Radzinski, Rooney, Chadwick and Ferguson play
upfront this season and now we also have McFadden and the return of
Jeffers (not to mention the injured Campbell)!
Given the competition, I would expect McFadden to make his debut on one
of the flanks eventually but not just yet (he may even struggle to make
the bench) and Chadwick may be the biggest loser in this race
That leaves England's youngest ever goalscorer, England U21's record
goal scorer, last years top Premeirship goalscorer for Everton, and Big
Dunc (4 goals in 2 games this week) competing for the front two places.
Do not be surprised to see Rooney start on the bench. Moyes has
tried to protect him as much as possible and now we have numbers upfront I
imagine that he will revert again to his super-sub role for the time
I'd expect Radzinski and Ferguson to start with Jeffers and Rooney on
the bench (what a bench!!). Both players will know that they have to
perform with the two scallies waiting to come on and that incentive allied
to Newcastle's weaknesses at the back should see goals in this game.
Once again, we need Yobo to get back to his high standards and Stubbs
to battle away against Shearer. The midfield will be a minefield but
we will have genuine width and competitiveness in Watson and Kilbane.
We will certainly have to take our chances this weekend if we are to
come away with the required 3 points but we should do.
2-0 to the Blues and the start of a very interesting run of games!
Firstly Mr Styles. I'm not normally one for going over the
top about referees but this guy just did not handle the game
properly at all. An abysmal performance that should warrant
attention from the FA. Far, far too card happy in what was not
an overly physical game - one or two nasty incidents aside.
Never allowed the game to flow and made some diabolical decisions.
Their first penalty was fair enough; the second was a blatant dive
by a player who should not even have been on the pitch after fouling
then stamping on Rooney, forcing him to leave the pitch.
Bernard got the rough end of the stick in this fixture last season -
well he certainly made up for it today.
Some of the decisions that went against Ferguson were farcical.
They were getting free kicks for fouling him for fucks sake!
Talk about a reputation preceding you. The "pogo moment" where
he protested at Styles lecturing him on the use of arms while
jumping was funny but he was making a serious point.
Strangely, "elbows" Shearer did not get the same advice on this
subject. Funny that.
Anyhow here be my Player Ratings:
- Wright 6 : Not much to do before he was withdrawn.
Don't understand why he started as his knee is obviously still not
- Hibbert 5 : Not one of his better games. Made a couple
of good tackles but often caught in possession and his passes
didn't find their targets often enough
- Yobo 6 : Still looks a class act and didn't make any
major errors although he was bundled off the ball a couple of
- Stubbs 6 : Looked as though he was finding it tough
going against Shearer and the horrible Welsh midget but coped
- Naysmith 5 : Fairly decent first half. His lack of pace
and quality was exposed in the second. I'll have to see it again
tonight but from where I was sitting it looked as though he had to
go when he brought Dyer down.
- Kilbane 6 : Never heard so many diverse opinions on an
Everton player's debut. Ian Snodin gave him man of the match, some
called him a disgrace, some said he didn't get involved enough.
For me, he got plenty of the ball, moved around the pitch well and
hit some useful passes although in all honesty they were probably
outweighed by bad ones. He was better than I thought he would be
though. May not be such a bad signing after all.
- Gravesen 8 : I thought he was excellent today and
showed some great touches. His range of passing was excellent -
from crossfield balls landing at feet to pinpoint through balls to
Radz. We saw the headless chicken emerge a couple of times but I
think I can forgive him that when the rest of his game was as good
as it was today.
- Linderoth 5 : Made little impact and was chasing the
ball most of the time. Still needs time to bed in I think before a
proper judgment can be made.
- Watson 7 : Usual 100% effort and caused them some
problems down the right flank. Bit surprised that he was the man
to make way for Ferguson.
- Rooney 6 : Didn't get chance to get into the game
before Bernard injured him. The tackle looked nasty - hopefully
he's not seriously injured.
- Radzinski 8 : You've got to love him! Kept going right
till the end, used his pace well and won us the penalty that
rescued a point. I love the way that he goes for the ball in the
air even though he has got next to no chance of winning them. Real
commitment to the cause.
- Martyn 6 : Little to do. Could do nothing about either
penalty. Kicking a bit dodgy though.
- Jeffers 5 : Good reception for the lad but he looked a
little out of sorts and didn't see much of the ball.
- Ferguson 6½ : Was not allowed to get into the game by
Styles who punished his every move in the box with a free-kick to
them. Linked up with his team-mates well outside of the box
though. Had the bottle to take the penalty, and took it well.
Would like to think he still has a part to play but I think it
will take more than showing his tattoo to the crowd to win a lot
of people back over.