Alan Pardew wary of Everton’s Romelu Lukaku threat
Alan Pardew will complete his stadium ban, as Newcastle prepare to host Everton at St James’ Park.
Magpies, who are renowned for focusing on brighter objects, have Europa League qualification in their sights and, after a late winner against Crystal Palace at the weekend, will look to swoop up behind key rivals in the league. The Toffees are wary of becoming their latest prey.
Coral have both the home side and draw at 23/10, with Everton favourites for the fixture at 13/10. Under Roberto Martinez, the Merseyside outfit have been transformed into a more attacking unit this term, and striker Romelu Lukaku has been key to the team’s form. He is 5/1 to score first.
Loic Remy and Mathieu Debuchy are still recovering from injury for Newcastle, having missed the game against Palace at the weekend, while Everton are without long-term absentee Steven Pienaar.
Martinez has to make a decision on defender Phil Jagielka. At the team’s pre-match press conference on Monday he told reporters: “Phil Jagielka is medically fully fit. We are going to make a decision on him tomorrow.
“If we can get Phil fit for Tuesday or Sunday it’s going to be a big bonus. You always miss your club captain.
“He is such a big influence that we have missed him. But there is the reality that we have been able to win football games without him and that’s credit to the players who have come in. That’s what you need from a squad because over the course of the season you are going to get injuries and suspensions.”
Newcastle’s main threat is likely to come in the form of Hatem Ben Arfa, who on his game is unplayable. Coral price him at 8/1 to score first, while Papiss Cisse who snatched the late winner on Saturday, is at 6/1.
Of the last four fixtures between the two teams in the north of England, Everton lead 2-1 and have lost just one of their 21 games against teams below them this campaign.
Alan Pardew is wary of visiting threats and has spoken out ahead of the game about the good work his opposite number has done this season: “Roberto has done a super job; they’ve made two of the best loan signings of the season in Lukaku and Gareth Barry.
“They have got a squad full of great players and play a more expansive game under Roberto than they did under David Moyes. Roberto has justified his move to a bigger club but hopefully we are a little bit better than them on Tuesday.”
The corresponding fixture at Goodison Park earlier this term was a thriller, as Everton surged into a three-goal lead inside 37 minutes, before Newcastle pulled two back.
With a lot still left to play for, both teams will feel they have a good chance as the race for European qualification begins to gather pace.
Everton are vying for a top-four finish and are currently 9/1 to achieve that with Coral.