Everton vs Newcastle United

Sunday, 22 April, 2018 0comments  |  Jump to last
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Sam Allardyce has admitted he still feels under pressure as Everton boss

Goodison Park plays host to its penultimate match of the 2017-18 Premier League season as Newcastle United come to town for the Monday night game.

Sam Allardyce faces another of his former clubs in a contest that looked at one stage as though it might have had significant ramifications in terms of the relegation picture. Now, however, with first the Toffees and now the Magpies having assured their top-flight safety, it's very much a mid-table affair.

Indeed, the two clubs sit side by side in the table in ninth and 10th place respectively with just a point separating them thanks largely to Rafael Benitez overseeing four wins on the bounce which has lifted them well clear of the drop zone.

Everton, meanwhile, under Allardyce have won just one of their last four, having been beaten at home by Manchester City and then drawn against Liverpool and Swansea, and have registered just four victories since the turn of the year. It's been enough to keep them between 11th and 9th since they won at St James's Park and it looks like that will be the Blues' lot this season unless they can overhaul Leicester and hold off Newcastle to finish eighth.

With Allardyce admitting that he still feels under pressure as speculation over his future and an uneasy relationship with supporters continues, he is unlikely to be moved to experiment much with his starting line-up. That could see Everton unchanged from the side that started at Swansea, which would mean Morgan Schneiderlin continuing in defensive midfield alongside Idrissa Gueye, Wayne Rooney playing in between a wide duo of Yannick Bolasie and Theo Walcott and Cenk Tosun deployed up front.

It's unlikely to bring much of a change in approach but with the benefit of home soil, the Blues are always capable of grabbing a goal and getting their noses in front. The issue for the manager, however, might come if Everton concede early or reach half time having barely bothered the opposition goalkeeper, as has been the pattern for far too much of the last few months.

In that case, the disgruntlement that moved a significant element of the away support to chanted his name in unfavourable terms at Swansea last week could surface in the stands at Goodison.

It seems inconceivable, given that Benitiez has been at odds with his board over the financial straightjacket within which he has been forced to work this season while Everton have blown historic sums on a failed recruitment drive that Newcastle would leapfrog the Blues if they were to conjure up a win on Monday evening.

It would be testament to the recent and timely resurgence on Tyneside under the Spaniard and the continued stagnation on the Blue half of Merseyside but it also wouldn't tell us much more than we already know. Everton need change and inspiration in the dugout and it can't come soon enough.

Kick-off: 8pm, Monday, 23 April, 2018
Referee: Robert Madley
Last Time: Everton 3 - 0 Newcastle United

Predicted Line-up: Pickford, Coleman, Jagielka, Keane, Baines, Schneiderlin, Gueye, Rooney, Bolasie, Walcott, Tosun

 


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