Everton host Newcastle at Goodison Park this Sunday, as the Toffees will aim to achieve their first Premier League victory since the end of January.
Roberto Martinez’s side have, however, fared considerably better on the European stage. Everton are currently in the last-16 of the Europa League, and will take a precious 2-1 lead over Dynamo Kiev to Ukraine next Thursday.
The Toffees’ match against the Ukrainian outfit also saw Romelu Lukaku become the club’s top European goalscorer with seven goals, courtesy of an 82nd minute penalty.
Although, while Everton are set to be the only remaining English side in Europe, the Merseyside club have only accumulated 28 points from 28 Premier League matches this season, and are currently 14th in the league; a far cry from their final league position of 5th last season.
Martinez recently conceded that “any team that hasn’t got 40 points in the final third of the season is in a relegation battle”, but a victory over the Magpies will no doubt ease this apprehension.
Attention, both positive and unwanted, has also been directed towards Newcastle in recent times. Papiss Cisse received a seven-match ban for spitting at Jonny Evans during the match against Manchester United, and as a result, the Senegalese striker will now be unavailable until May.
However, the game against Louis van Gaal’s side also saw the return of Jonas Gutierrez after a 17 month absence, who was met with a standing ovation in recognition of his battle with and subsequent recovery from cancer.
The Magpies are currently 11th in the league, and with only two wins since the start of 2015, John Carver’s side are also in need of a victory.
Roberto Martinez will be able to call upon John Stones who has recovered from a virus, but Leighton Baines will need to be assessed ahead of the match.
The Everton manager will not be able to use Gareth Barry, who begins a two-match suspension, while Bryan Oviedo, Tony Hibbert and Steven Pienaar are all injured. Aaron Lennon, who was cup-tied against Dynamo Kiev, could start for Roberto Martinez’s side.
Along with Cisse, Massadio Haidara will also be unavailable for John Carver through injury. However, Jack Colback is available again after serving a suspension, while the Newcastle boss will also be able to use Rob Elliot and Remy Cabella.
Everton were impressive against the Ukrainian Premier League leaders on Thursday, and so there is no reason why they cannot beat Newcastle.
Everton’s Probable Starting XI: Howard, Coleman, Alcaraz, Jagielka, Garbutt, McCarthy, Besic, Lennon, Barkley, Naismith, Lukaku