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Lee Dixon: Can Pardew lift Magpies for Everton clash?

Will Newcastle take off in 2013?

Recommended Bets
Back the draw @ 3.45n/a
Back 1-1 @ 7.26/1

Everton have enjoyed a better first half of the season than they usually do, while Newcastle have been disappointing so far. Can either team get 2013 off to a winning start? Lee Dixon selects the best bets...

How does a manager pick his team up after they've played consecutive away matches against two top teams, scored six goals and still taken no points? Alan Pardew is a confident man, he some times talks like he's got a cabinet full of Premier League titles, but he's going to have find some inspiring words to rally Newcastle players for this match against Everton.

Both Manchester United and Arsenal have had their problems in defence this season but it still takes a mammoth effort to score three at Old Trafford and the Emirates. Newcastle were right to have a go in those matches but to come away from both fixtures with nothing will have been very disappointing. After a difficult, and at times perplexing first half of the season, the Magpies are looking over their shoulders - they're only three points outside the relegation zone - and they need to start winning fast.

They must take the positives. We know they can score goals and Pardew will have been pleased to see both Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse on the scoresheet over Christmas. I still think that Pardew has assembled a very good squad and he deserves credit for that. Ba might be on his way out of St James' so Cisse needs to find consistency over the coming months. At the back, conceding 11 in their last two is poor, even against United and Arsenal, but I expect Newcastle to tighten up on Tuesday and, long term, I certainly won't be backing them at 11.010/1 to go down.

Everton are a tough nut to crack. They lost their unbeaten home record on Saturday but they were unlucky against an in-form Chelsea team. You might have expected them to struggle this season but, thanks to the goals of Marouane Fellaini and Nikica Jelavic, as well as excellent organisation throughout the team, they've enjoyed their best first-half of the season for many years. 

I spoke to David Moyes last year and, when I asked him why Everton have traditionally made terrible starts to the campaign, he was at a loss to explain. He'd tried everything he said, giving the players a gentle build up, put them through a tough pre-season programme, and nothing seemed to work.

I like David, I think he'd be a brilliant manager to play for, so I'm delighted that his team have done so well this year. The New Year is traditionally when they start to play so if they can maintain their form until May they could be competing for a top four finish.

The Toffees have drawn five away matches so far and I think they can earn another here. Newcastle will be on the floor after their defeats over Christmas and, while Pardew will get them up for this, Everton are more than capable of denying them all three points. I'm quite confident about backing the draw and I also recommend small stakes on 1-1.

Recommended Bets
Back the draw @ 3.45n/a
Back 1-1 @ 7.26/1

The Tactical View: Michael Cox

I disagree with Lee and think there will be plenty of goals. Newcastle have been extremely open in the past couple of matches, conceding 11 in their last two matches, and I worry that they won't protect their defence well enough. Everton love switching the ball from flank to flank before crossing, and I think that will be a profitable approach. Still, Newcastle have attacked well over the Christmas period so I don't want to back an Everton win. Instead, over 3.5 goals looks good at [3.2].

The Betfair Trader's View: Alan Thompson

Everton face a Newcastle side who have conceded 11 goals in their last two games. Everton have only failed to score in one game this season (away at WBA) and both teams have scored in Everton’s last 15 games. Newcastle, despite conceding heavily lately, have also scored in their last seven. I don’t see any reason why this trend for both teams to score won’t continue and while the market is short at [1.65], I wouldn’t want to put anyone off. However, I prefer to back 1-1 @ [7.2], like Lee, and ask for a price of [2.0] on over 2.5 goals to get better value.

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31 December 2013

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