Venue: St James’ Park, Newcastle.
Date: Weds 2nd January, 2013.
Kick off: 8.00pm.
Referee: Martin Atkinson (Yorks).
UK TV: Sky Sports.
Hello, good evening and welcome to our “match banter” for this evening’s game against Everton at St James’ Park.
Of course, this will be our first game of 2013, and the last of what has been a very tricky trio of games over the Christmas and New Year holidays, with the Magpies conceeding a whopping eleven goals in the first two. Well here’s hoping that 2013 starts on a better note than 2012 ended!
It will be tough though. Despite a narrow defeat in their last game against Chelsea, Everton’s recent form has been very good, with the record in their last six games (most recent first) being L|W|W|D|W|D, leaving them at sixth in the Premiership table going into this game. On the other hand, our recent record has been L|L|W|L|L|L, though if you only count Premiership games, it has been L|L|W|L|L|W which is slightly more respectable.
Looking back at our last game against the Toffees, we were very lucky to get a 2-2 draw against these tricky customers, with a perfectly good goal which crossed the line being ruled out for them in what was an excellent game with some very poor refereeing.
If we can get our form back though, it could be a very tight game. Everton should be our closest rivals in the Premiership as a kind of “best of the rest” club behind the top six moneybags sides, slugging it out for one of the last Europa League places. Here’s hoping it returns this evening in a great game – Of course, with the lads coming out with the spoils in the end!
As I haven’t been doing the usual match previews over the Christmas holiday period, I shall include a bit of team news here before the teamsheets come out.
I’m sure that most of know that it would be an understatement to say that Newcastle United are having more than their fair share of injury problems at the moment, and for this evening’s game, Ryan Taylor, Dan Gosling, Haris Vuckic, Jonas Gutierrez (all knee), Steven Taylor, Hatem Ben Arfa (both hamstring) Yohan Cabaye (groin), and finally Danny Simpson (broken toe) will all be out, though Cabaye and Taylor have at least returned to training. Vurnon Anita will be a doubtful with his ankle.
On the good news front though, Mike Williamson will return after after being suspended for the Arsenal game, while Shola Ameobi will not be on his way to the Cup of African Nations to play for Nigeria after all. Cheick Tiote WILL be going to join the Ivory Coast squad, though he will also be available for this game before travelling to join his Ivorian team mates.
However, going back to the bad news, sadly, the big news is undoubtedly that Demba Ba will not be starting this evening, not through injury but to hold talks over a potential move to Chelsea. Of course, it goes without saying that losing the man who has scored exactly 50% of all of our Premiership goals this season could be catastophic with the club in it’s current situation.
Darron Gibson (thigh), Kevin Mirallas and Seamus Coleman (both hamstring), Tony Hibbert (calf) are all out but Captain, Phil Neville (knee) is only a doubtful. Finally, on the other side, Marouane Fellaini will return from a three match ban picked up for behaving like a nutter for practically the whole of Everton’s game against Stoke back on December 15th.
On that, I will leave you with the usual reminders that I shall be updating this post with the official team sheets when they become available, and posting some online links for the game when they are available too, though this game will be broadcast live in the UK on Sky Sports. Finally, I will also be posting highlights when the game is over, as well as a video of the whole match if there is one available.
Howay the Lads!
Newcastle United (4-2-3-1): Tim Krul (G), James Perch, Mike Williamson, Fabricio Coloccini (C), Davide Santon, Cheick Tiote, Vurnon Anita, Papiss Cisse, Sylvain Marveaux, Gabriel Obertan, Shola Ameobi.
Subs: Rob Elliot (G), James Tavernier, Shane Ferguson, Gael Bigirimana, Mehdi Abeid, Sammy Ameobi, Nile Ranger.
Everton (4-4-1-1): Tim Howard (G) Phil Jagielka, John Heitinga, Sylvain Distin, Leighton Baines, Steven Naismith, Phil Neville (c), Leon Osman, Steven Pienaar, Marouane Fellaini, Nikica Jelavic.
Substitutes: Jan Mucha (G), Shane Duffy, Thomas Hitzlsperger, Bryan Oviedo, Magaye Gueye, Victor Anichebe, Apostolos Vellios.