Premier League: Newcastle v Everton match preview
A look ahead to tonight's Premier League fixture at St James' Park
Everton, hoping to remain in contention for European qualification, will be boosted by the return of top scorer Marouane Fellaini for the game at St James' Park. The highly-rated Belgian midfielder has served his three-match ban for headbutting Ryan Shawcross last month.
Without a win in two games, despite scoring three goals away to both Manchester United and Arsenal, the Magpies lie in 15th. Manager Alan Pardew has spoken of his desire to sign up to three players in this month's window to stop the slump and that number could now be four following today's announcement that Chelsea have triggered Demba Ba's release clause. The Senegal striker will not be available for this match having travelled to London for talks with the European champions.
So, while this will be a test of whether European qualification for the first time since 2005 remains realistic for the Toffees, Newcastle will be equally keen for a result in the first game of 2013.
KICK-OFF: Wednesday, 8pm
PAST THREE MEETINGS...
Everton 2 (Baines, Anichebe) Newcastle 2 (Ba 2), Premier League, September 2012
Everton 3 (Pienaar, Jelavic, Heitinga) Newcastle 1 (Hibbert), Premier League, May 2012
Newcastle 2 (Heitinga OG, R Taylor) Everton 1 (Rodwell), Premier League, November 2011
Newcastle have become the first Premier League team in history to lose back-to-back games despite scoring at least three goals in both. The last time this happened in the top-flight was Ipswich Town in 1985.
In the league, Newcastle striker Demba Ba has scored more goals away (18) than at St James' Park (17).
Steven Pienaar's goal for Everton against Chelsea on Sunday was his club's fastest in the Premier League since 2008 – when Yakubu netted after 47 seconds against Portsmouth.
Everton have scored in 16 consecutive games, but gone without a clean sheet in 15. Their loss to Chelsea ended a 13-match unbeaten home run, while they have hit the woodwork 17 times.
Newcastle to win: 2.96
Everton to win: 2.48
TV: Live on Sky Sports 1 HD at 8pm, highlights on BBC1 at 11:05pm
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