(STATS) – A pair of clubs looking to further distance themselves from the relegation scrap face off in Goodison Park on Tuesday when Everton host Newcastle United.
Everton (8-5-10) are in 11th place in the table, ahead of Newcastle United (8-5-10) on goal difference. Both leviathans appear stuck in a cycle of mediocrity, with Everton having changed managers mid-season from Marco Silva to Carlo Ancelotti, while Newcastle have lurched from match to match in consistency under first-year boss Steve Bruce.
The Magpies, though, are the ones carrying momentum into the match after a smash-and-grab 1-0 victory over Chelsea on Saturday. Having been bossed for most of the match by the London side, Isaac Hayden bundled Allan Saint-Maximin’s cross into the net in the 94th minute, giving Newcastle a surprise three points considering they had offered little offensively while ceding a majority of possession to the Pensioners.
“I told Isaac to stay up,” Bruce told The Times. “I overruled (assistant Steve) Aggers. Of course I’ll take the credit. It was smash and grab. Yes, it’s not great to watch but the effort and the endeavour and resilience is there for everyone to see. We’ll take the luck, we were due some. They have quality throughout the team. You have to stay with it in the games against the big teams. I’m delighted.”
The victory ended a four-match winless spell for Newcastle, though goals are still somewhat scarce. Their haul of 22 is tied for third-fewest in the top flight, and those struggled are more pronounced on the road – Newcastle has scored just 10 goals outside St James’ Park, and five of them came in victories over West Ham United and Sheffield United.
The new manager bounce Ancelotti provided after his arrival from Napoli appears to have waned as Everton are 1-1-2 in their last four matches in all competitions. The Toffees are coming off a 1-1 draw at West Ham United in which Dominic Calvert-Lewin quickly canceled out Issa Diop’s goal to create a split of the points.
Calvert-Lewin continues to be the bright spot on what has been a disappointing season for Everton. The 22-year-old – who could have a place on England’s national team during the next international break with Harry Kane injured — has 11 goals in all competitions, with Saturday’s finish his fourth in the last six matches overall.
“I thought we underperformed,” Calvert-Lewin told the club’s official website. “It was disappointing not to play to our strengths and the patterns of play we know we can execute. Today, it was disappointing not to kick on from the equaliser. In the end, it’s a good point but we know all three were there for the taking.
“I’m happy to get on the scoresheet again today and help my team to get the point in the end. As I said, we could have performed better and it’s on to Tuesday now and we know we have to kick on from here.”
Ancelotti is also blooding some of his younger players, with 18-year-old winger Anthony Gordon getting his Premier League debut as a halftime entrant. Gordon had made two previous appearances with the senior side – getting a late runout last month in the Carabao Cup and a Europa League match in 2017-18 – but held his own as Ancelotti said he was “happy with his performance.”
Usual first-choice winger Richarlison is a question mark for this match after missing Saturday’s contest with a knee injury, while midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson appears set to miss a second straight game due to groin issues. Everton have yet to win a match without Richarlison since his arrival last season, going 0-3-1.
Calvert-Lewin’s brace on either side of Fabian Schar’s goal powered Everton to a 2-1 victory in the reverse fixture Dec. 28 that was also Ancelotti’s second match in charge. Calvert-Lewin turned in a cross from Richarlison for the match-winner on 64 minutes as the Toffees improved to 10-2-2 in the last 14 meetings between the teams.
Everton are also unbeaten in their last seven at Goodison Park (5-2-0) versus the Magpies since a 1-0 defeat in September 2010.