1 min Andy Hinchcliffe reckons Everton are playing 4-2-3-1, with Allan and Delph in front of the back four, Doucoure off the right and Gomes off the left.
This has got to be the greatest pre-match music in the country, right?
Tim Cahill reckons Everton will play 4-4-2, but I wonder if their five central midfielders mean we’ll see something a little tighter.
I really don’t know what’s going to happen in this game. I would not expect a surfeit of goals, that’s for sure.
Also going on now: Everton Women take on Man City Women in the Women’s FA Cup final. Follow along here:
Incidentally, that Sturm Graz game I mentioned earlier – during it, this happened. Whatever happened to that lad?
I’m looking forward to watching Sean Longstaff today. People were shocked by what Manchester United wanted to pay for him last summer, but I think there’s something to it. He was brilliant when Newcastle beat Man City, a long time ago now, but also, Michael Carrick is a coach at United and his brother Graeme has known Longstaff for years. Which is to say that his attitude must be approved, and if there’s one thing Michael knows about, it’s how to play the deeper midfield role.
“Smart from Don Carlo,” tweets Gary Naylor. “Pickford needs time to think about what kind of goalie he wants to be – and he’s always a bit scrambled against the Toon. He’s in danger of becoming a keeping David Luiz – one third resplendent, one third routine, one third ridiculous.”
I think it’s good management to take him out once the fuss has died down a bit, but yes, I agree. He needs to get his head right, because his mistakes tend to be mistakes of concentration and judgment.
Steve Bruce tells Sky that every team has good players, which explains Everton’s gubbing last week. On their XI, he notes that they’ve got injuries and suspensions, which will proliferate given the schedule.
I have a nice Bobby Charlton story. When I was at university, I got the train to Manchester, as was my wont, to watch United play Sturm Graz. It was the last one you could get and still get to the game on time, so like everyone doing the same, I walked down the train to be one of the first off. And who should I see but Sir Robert! So I said hi and thanked him, mainly on behalf of my dad, for all his incredible work. He very generously asked if I’d like to accompany him to Old Trafford, joining him in his cab. “Thanks a lot, that’s really kind of you,” I said. “But you’re alright – my friend’s picking me up.”
What an absolute moron.
Sad news just announced by Sky: Bobby Charlton has been diagnosed with dementure.
Talking of Southampton – how good is Ralph Hasenhuttl? – they’re now 4-1 up at Villa. Rob Smyth has the latest.
As for Everton, the headline news is the tinning of Jordan Pickford. It’s not nice to say, but that has been a long time coming and presumably in the post for a while, as he wasn’t at fault for last week’s abjectivity, but Robin Olsen gets a go. Otherwise, poor Ben Godfrey is left out after making his Everton debut at right-back – Jonjoe Kenny returns after injury – and Niels Nkounkou replaces Digne, making his Premier League debut. Otherwise, Fabian Delph and Andre Gomes replace Alex Iwobi and James, making it tricky to see who might create what. My guess is that Abdoulaye Docoure is asked to augment the attack, with Gylfi Sigurdsson give a free role.
Gosh, there’s a lot to digest here. Newcastle go defensive, with only two attacking players in midfield this week – Ryan Fraser is replaced by Sean Longstaff, but that’s the only change from last weekend. My guess is that the formation will be 5-3-1-1, but who knows.
Let’s have some teams!
Newcastle United (a revolutionary’s 5-3-1-1): Darlow; Murphy, Schar, Lascelles, Fernandez, Lewis; Almiron, Hendrick, S.Longstaff; Saint-Maximin; Wilson. Subs: Gillespie, Clark, Carroll, Joelinton, Hayden, Manquillo, Fraser.
Everton (a 4-diamonte-1-1): Olsen; Kenny, Mina, Keane, Nkounkou; Delph, Doucoure, Allan, Gomes; Sigurdsson; Calvert-Lewin. Subs: Pickford, Tosun, Iowbi, Bernard, Gordon, Branthwaite, Simms.
VAR’s straight man: Stuart Atwell (Firswod, Manchester)
Afternoon all! This should be an interesting one. Newcastle won a late point at Wolves last time out, a match for which Steve Bruce selected two attacking full-backs in a back five, two wingers and an attacking midfielder in midfield, and a wide attacker and a centre-forward up front. Naturally, they created few chances and their goal came from a set-piece, but it’s the thought that counts. Steve Bruce is fun!
Everton, meanwhile, were extremely poor at an extremely good Southampton, outfought, outthought and outplayed. And today they’ll not only be without Seamus Coleman, still injured, and Richarlison, still suspended, but Lucas Digne, freshly suspended, and James Rodríguez, semi-freshly injured. They’ve still got some decent players, but Newcastle will fancy this.
Kick-off: 2pm GMT