Barclays Premier League
Newcastle United 0-1 Everton
Shelvey s/o 90+4 Rooney 27
Wayne Rooney scored the only goal for Everton in a 1-0 win over Newcastle United at St James’ Park on Wednesday night.
Under-pressure boss Rafael Benitez made four changes to his side following Saturday’s 3-2 defeat to Leicester City, including Jamaal Lascelles who made his first start since August.
Everton manager Sam Allardyce made two changes to his side following a 1-1 draw in the Merseyside derby on Sunday, looking to extend his unbeaten start to life at Goodison to four games.
Newcastle dominated possession early in the first half, and came closest when Matt Ritchie’s booming effort hit the post in the 26th minute.
Just moments later it was Everton who took the lead however, against the run of play. Dominic Calvert-Lewin got his head on the end of a good ball on the right and it was parried by Karl Darlow before Rooney tapped the loose ball in from close range.
The Toffees looked more comfortable from there on, but it didn’t stop Mikel Merino from clattering the post with a cracking long-range effort in the 38th minute.
Ten minutes into the second half, the hosts came incredibly close when Merino’s shot was blocked before Florian Lejeune’s header went just wide.
Everton didn’t struggle to cope with the Newcastle attack in much of the second half, and the home side’s woes continued right up until the end when Jonjo Shelvey was sent off for a second bookable offence.
The result means the Magpies sit in 16th, just a point above the drop zone going into a tough run of fixtures, while Everton remain in 10th.
Don’t mention the number eight to Newcastle fans.. they may hate you for it
Last night’s defeat also means that Rafa Benitez’s side are now without a win in their last eight Premier League games.
Nearly two months ago, Newcastle sat in 7th in the Premier League and many were praising Benitez for the work he’s done at St James’ Park on a limited budget this season.
With Mike Ashley in talks with Amanda Staveley over a potential £300 million takeover, much has been happening both on and off the pitch.
Come January, Benitez needs cash to strengthen what is really a Championship standard squad. It is unclear whether he will get this backing, so the sooner a takeover is complete the better.
‘OOH’.. something heard a lot last night
Newcastle demonstrated their lack of confidence in front of goal many times last night.
Hitting the post twice, heading wide from close range and lacklustre close-range efforts was really frustrating to see from a neutral perspective and even more so for the fan.
There were also times when players failed to spot runs, or sometimes when they made good runs with the ball they failed to do anything useful with it.
Everton’s defence was tested at times, but centre-halves Mason Holgate and Ashley Williams didn’t have as much work to do compared to the Merseyside derby on Sunday.
‘GOING DOWN, GOING DOWN, GOING DOWN’
Yes, that was what Everton fans were chanting at home supporters when leaving the ground. Oh the irony…
At the start of November, the Toffees were in the relegation zone and without a manager.
They spent over £100 million in the summer, and yet they failed in the Europa League and are only now starting to pick up form in the Premier League.
Newcastle and Everton’s seasons so far appear to be inverted. Benitez’s side started the season well, and now find themselves near the drop zone, while Everton are the other way round pretty much.
Just imagine what the Newcastle fans would’ve been chanting at Everton fans had the game been played in October..
Allardyce the right man?
The experienced coach couldn’t of really had a better start to life at Goodison Park. He has already been able to sort their defensive problems, and they’ve only conceded once since he took the reins.
Setting up his side to hit their opponents on the break in last night’s game, it was certainly effective and this showed great testament to his back-line.
Everton’s game at home to Chelsea on Saturday 23 December could be the time where we really see what Allardyce is capable of doing at the Merseyside club.
Man of the Match – DeAndre Yedlin
It was a close one tonight between Newcastle’s DeAndre Yedlin and Everton’s Idrissa Gueye.
Both players showed great energy for their respective sides, and looked promising on the ball.
In my view, Yedlin just edged it as he showed great will and determination especially after picking up a knock midway through the second half.
He made some great runs on the right flank, and was a joy to watch.
Newcastle United: Darlow 5, Yedlin 8, Lascelles 6, Lejeune 7, Manquillo 5, Merino 7 (Perez 86), Shelvey 5, Atsu 5, Diame 4 (Joselu 67), Ritchie 6 (Aarons 74), Gayle 4.
Sub ratings: Joselu 5, Aarons 5, Perez n/a
Booked: Merino and Shelvey
Sent off: Shelvey
Everton: Pickford 7, Kenny 6, Holgate 7, Williams 7, Martina 6, Schneiderlin 6, Gueye 8, Lennon 7 (Vlasic 67), Rooney 6 (Davies 77), Sigurdsson 7 (Jagielka 85), Calvert-Lewin 7.
Sub ratings: Vlasic 5, Davies 6, Jagielka n/a
Booked: Holgate and Calvert-Lewin
My next game
Mansfield Town v Morecambe (Saturday 23 December)