On the back of arguably their best result of the season so far, Newcastle United host Everton tomorrow (in the early kickoff) in their bid to make it 14 unbeaten in the Premier League.
The Magpies climbed to third on Monday evening with a 3-1 away to Stoke City, condemning the hosts to their first home league defeat of the season.
A different type of pressure will face Alan Pardew’s men tomorrow though as they will go into the game as slight favourites over their Merseyside visitors. The Toffees have lost five out of their nine league games this season, so to claim victory at St James’ Park against an unbeaten Newcastle will be a tough ask for David Moyes’ men.
It’s the Magpies significant improvement in defence which has provided a platform for their success, conceding only five league goals in open play this season.
A thankless list of fixtures awaits Newcastle following tomorrow’s game, putting extra importance on claiming three more points. Consecutive away days in Manchester face Pardew and his players, before they return to Tyneside to host Chelsea in early December.
Tomorrow’s lunch time clash with Everton may be on paper the easier of Newcastle’s next four fixtures. However despite a lack of investment in recent seasons the Toffees are still a force to be reckoned with.
Their lowly league position of sixteenth is no representation of the players Moyes has at his disposal, with a mid-table finish a more than achievable target.
With the financial restraints at Goodison Park holding Everton back from breaking into the top five, people forget the quality the side still boasts. Players like Royston Drenthe, Jack Rodwell, Louis Saha, Marouane Fellaini (suspended) and Leighton Baines are all of international pedigree, so to think a home game against the Toffees will be easy you’ll be very much mistaken. Tim Cahill is another threat for Everton. However he’s doubtful with injury.
This should be an exciting game for the neutral. The two sides with similar ambitions for the season meet in the first live game of the weekend.
A win for Newcastle will see them temporarily climb above Manchester United. However the Red Devils can re-claim second spot with a win over Sunderland at Old Trafford later the same day.
Newcastle will go into this game favourites to claim yet another victory, but any hint of complacency from the home side will be punished by a side desperate to get their season up and running.
The Magpies will be without winger Gabriel Obertan because of a toe infection, so an opportunity could fall the way of fellow Frenchman Sylvain Marveaux. Cheik Tiote, meamwhile, is doubtful for the game due to injury.
Everton were the last side to win at St James’ Park but a repeat of last season’s 2-1 victory will be a difficult ask as the hosts look to make it 11 league games unbeaten this season.