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Everton and Newcastle battle to get back on track

Newcastle United, 17/10 for a home win with Coral, could take advantage of visiting Everton’s injury woes, as they aim to snatch their first win in four.

The Magpies have endured a tough festive fixture list so far, after being pitted against giants Arsenal, Tottenham and Manchester United, but their upcoming encounter with the Toffees could be a turning point ahead of the New Year.

Alan Pardew’s side can certainly capitalise on problems facing Roberto Martinez. Everton have displayed defensive frailties this term, conceding 22 goals in 18 Premier League games and keeping just one clean sheet on away days so far.

After top stopper Tim Howard and experienced centre back Phil Jagielka were sidelined last time out, as Stoke City sunk into the Toffees, their rearguard could be in even further disarray.

Defender John Stones and forward Kevin Mirallas are also doubts for this duel, meaning Newcastle have an excellent chance to get back to business.

The Magpies have scored just one goal in their past three matches, which came courtesy of a Papiss Cisse spot kick against the Red Devils, but do possess the firepower to punish their guests.

Cool and collected penalty taker Cisse and Spanish striking starlet Ayoze Perez may have been misfiring recently, but are 7/4 and 2/1 to net anytime respectively and exploit Everton’s injuries.

The troubled Toffees, meanwhile, are in a tough spot after losing three of their last four games, and currently languish down in 12th place in the Premier League.

It is all a far cry from last term’s triumphant top six finish (7/2 to repeat that), and Martinez must be wondering what he has do to do fix it.

This stat is a much-needed boost for the Merseysiders; Everton have lost just one of their past four visits to St James’ Park, making them favourites at 6/4 to win.

With so many setbacks and injuries to senior squad men, talented young-guns Ross Barkley and Romelu Lukaku must justify their hype and step up to the task. The Everton academy product and club record signing are 8/1 and 5/1 to score first and last respectively.

However, with both teams in such inconsistent form, perhaps a draw at 12/5 is the best bet.