Picture Credit: Chronicle
Newcastle v Everton
Sunday 1st November 2020
On All Saints' Day, Toon face the potentially daunting prospect of going toe-to-toe with the team that currently occupy top spot in the Premier League table. Both teams go into the match having taken just one point from their previous two matches. Newcastle will hope to build on our late point saver away to Wolves last weekend whereas Everton will be desperate to get back on track following a fairly miserable 2-0 defeat away to Southampton last time out.
Everton started the season on fire with four straight victories. This one hundred percent start was halted by local rivals Liverpool in a 2-2 draw before their first defeat of the campaign last weekend. Six league matches has seen an impressive return of thirteen points. Away from home they experienced wins in London against both Tottenham and Crystal Palace before being put to the sword by Southampton. This makes two wins and six points on their travels for the Toffees so far this season.
Newcastle remain as inconsistent as ever with two wins, two draws and two defeats from the opening six league fixtures. This run of results has come in a win-lose-draw-repeat pattern which will hopefully continue with three points this Sunday. At home we've seen abysmal heavy defeats against both Brighton and Man United sandwiched by probably our best performance of the season so far, a 3-1 win against struggling Burnley. Just the one win and three points achieved on Tyneside so far for NUFC
Everton's thirteen points is enough to have them top of the league whereas at the time of writing Newcastle currently sit fourteenth with eight points.
We've had some absolutely classic matches against this lot over the years with a number of high scoring encounters. The last match between the two back in January (although it seems a million years ago due to the year we've all had) saw one of the most bizarre draws I've ever had the pleasure of witnessing. Toon were completely outplayed for the entire match and 2-0 down five minutes into injury time. At this precise moment, Florian Lejeune scored probably the best goal of our season despite his acrobatic effort receiving hardly any celebration. With the match drifting into a minute over the allotted injury time, United piled bodies forward and a goalmouth scramble ended up with the Frenchman once again finding himself in the right place at the right time. This 2-2 draw was made all the more unlikely by the fact that it was earned by Lejeune's only goals in a Toon shirt.
A year earlier, United had also found themselves 2-0 down against Everton (although this time at home). In March 2019, we had the odious Jordan Pickford to thank for whipping the fans into a state of frenzy. The first half had seen the former Sunderland shot-stopper give away a blatant penalty somehow escaping a red card for a rugby tackle in the area on Salomon Rondon. This lack of dismissal was made all the more galling when he saved Matt Richie's penalty and the blues doubled their lead almost straight away. With Pickford making sly gestures to the fans behind the goal, the second half would bring the ultimate score-settling (in more ways than one). First Rondon reduced the arrears to give us hope then Almirón forced Pickford into an error that allowed Perez to score. At this point, the Toon could sense a famous win was there for the taking and Perez duly delivered right at the death. A 3-2 victory came from nowhere and was celebrated long into the night. Magic!
Perhaps the most memorable match between the two clubs I've ever attended came at Goodison Park in 2010. Toon had enjoyed a decent start to the campaign and this got even better with a superb away performance being capped by Ben-Arfa scoring a sensational first for the club in a 1-0 victory that sent the away end into utter delirium. The second half saw the referee wave away a blatant NUFC penalty appeal and Everton hit the post in injury time. United were fully worth a tremendous win though in what was a wonderful day all round.
For obvious reasons, I can’t complete this section without discussing an astonishing 6-2 victory over the Toffees under Sir Bobby Robson in 2002. The match was tied 2-2 at halftime and Newcastle desperately needed the points in order to qualify for the Champions League. Read all about this superb Toon performance here:
Newcastle have won just three of the last ten home games to Everton, drawing one and losing six.
Toon have scored three or more times against Everton at home in the Premier League area an impressive six times.
Newcastle have scored exactly forty goals in twenty five premiership matches at home to the Toffees.
Our last two home victories over this lot finished 3-2 in 14/15 and more recently 18/19
There hasn't been a draw between the two sides at St James Park for twelve seasons.
Carlo Ancelotti after a 2-0 defeat to Southampton - "It was not a good performance but that doesn't mean I'll forget the rest of the season where we've done really well. Today wasn't good but we'll do really well again"
Steve Bruce after a 1-1 draw with Wolves - "We are trying to find a balance to the team, it won't happen overnight but we are trying to change the way we play."
Played for Both
The word legend is overused in football but I think almost all NUFC fans would consider Gary Speed to be a true legend of the game. Arriving from Everton for the bargain price of just £5.5 million in 1998, he'd score his first goal for the club in a FA Cup Quarter Final victory at home to Barnsley. In six years, the attacking midfielder would rack up an impressive forty goals and became one of Sir Bobby Robson's 'blue chip players' alongside the likes of Alan Shearer and Shay Given. He moved on to Bolton in the summer of 2004 with many fans sad to see him go. His life was to be tragically cut short by suicide in 2011 and St James Park became a shrine to his life in the aftermath of such devastating news. Loved and never forgotten. Rest in Peace.
Duncan Ferguson arrived from the Toffees just a year after Speed but unfortunately struggled for both form and fitness. The big Scotsman didn't provide us with many happy memories during his time on Tyneside but my own personal highlight was a simply stunning turn and volley in a 3-0 victory at home to Man United. He bizarrely also became something of a talisman when arriving from the bench in an FA Cup Semi final against Tottenham in 1999, inspiring both the fans and the team to a famous 2-0 win. 'Big Dunc' remains something of a cult hero on Merseyside.
Special mention to Steve Watson, Alessandro Pitstone and David Ginola who also turned out for both clubs with varying degrees of success.
The match will kick off at 2pm on Sunday 1st November and will be live on sky sports. Thankfully it will not be 'pay-per-view' - when even Mike Ashley considers a scheme greedy, you know it must be completely beyond the pale!
The generosity of Newcastle fans in raising over £20,000 for their foodbank in the aftermath of the Man Utd match being made PPV has led to fans of other clubs following suit. A tremendous initiative under the current climate. Further donations can be made here https://newcastlewestend.foodbank.org.uk/give-help/donate-money/
Everton also have their own excellent 'blue family campaign' helping vulnerable members of their community and donations will be gratefully received here https://www.evertonfc.com/bluefamily
Despite the vastly differing league positions of the two teams, this match is actually quite tough to call. Newcastle have a fairly awful defence but Everton have a truly awful goalkeeper. The smart money is on an Everton victory with both teams scoring so 2-1 to the Toffees. I however would never dream of being so pessimistic on match day. I fancy Everton to take an early lead and go into halftime 1-0 up. The Toon however will roar back in the second half and score two late goals to ensure a highly enjoyable victory. Prediction: Newcastle 2-1 Everton.
Picture Credit: premierleague.com