As predicted quite early in the season, Rafa Benitez’s side have started to struggle after an initial burst of form. After wasting away some good opportunities in a couple of matches, Newcastle sank further against Leicester last weekend.
Leicester won through an own goal in the 86th minute of the game as the Magpies went down fighting in the dying stages.
It would not be a surprise if they drop further down the table. Hence, the midweek match against Everton becomes even more important.
There are not any major injury or suspension concerns for Newcastle at the moment. Jamaal Lascelles is in contention for a starting place now. However, Paul Dummett is on the sidelines for the encounter against Everton.
Karl Darlow has been tipped over Rob Elliot to don the goalkeeper’s gloves in last few games and is likely to start this game too.
Jamaal Lascelles and Ciaran Clark will form the centre-half pairing in this game. Lascelles was expected to return against Leicester but did not feature in the game against the Foxes. He is an integral member of the entire team as Lascelles arranges the defence, lifts the team up and uses his astounding aerial ability to dominate the opposition. Ciaran Clark is a decent partner to Lascelles and has done well this season.
DeAndre Yedlin is Newcastle’s best bet for the right-back spot and the 24-year-old has been impressive in his outings so far. Yedlin is a strong defender and keeps his flank tight, contributing regularly to the defensive aspect of the game. Comparatively, Javier Manquillo remains quite reserved in his role and one will rarely see him wandering in the other half.
Isaac Hayden will be the defensive midfielder in the four-man midfield for the Magpies. Hayden has good game awareness, gets into his position well and is a strong tackler of the ball. Mikel Merino could be the one partnering Hayden at the heart of the midfield.
Merino has so far averaged three tackles per game in the Premier League and does well to plug the gaps in the defence. Merino, in all possibility, could be one of the best defensive midfielders from all the middle tier clubs in the Premier League.
Matt Ritchie has been mighty impressive in the right-sided attacking midfield position. He has played a hand in five goals directly this season and is a constant presence in the attacking moves created by the Magpies. Christian Atsu will play on the other flank. Atsu and Murphy both have quite similar profiles, however, the former has recorded more starts until now and it should not be a surprise if he starts against the Toffees too.
Joselu and Dwight Gayle, in all probability, will be the men starting up front for Newcastle United. Both of them have scored just three goals each in the league and their goal-scoring woes have had a direct impact on Newcastle’s form too.
They have the talent and the ability to combine well and bring some consistency to their game.