Everton v Newcastle preview: Seydou Doumbia cleared to make Magpies debut
By Patrick Surlis
Last Updated: 03/02/16 7:57pm
Seydou Doumbia has been cleared to make his Newcastle debut on Wednesday evening, but Everton's new striker Oumar Niasse is not available.
And former Tottenham man Andros Townsend could also be in line to make his Newcastle bow.
Steve McClaren's side were the Premier League's biggest spenders, bringing in Townsend, Henri Saivet and Jonjo Shelvey for a combined cost of £29m, while Doumbia joined on loan from Roma.
Doumbia could be involved at Goodison Park after receiving his visa, while Townsend is expected to feature for the first time.
Everton have been draw specialists this season, with 11 from their 23 league games to date, but the Toffees have an excellent record against Newcastle, with six wins from their previous eight top-flight meetings.
However, Roberto Martinez's side have not won in the league since the reverse fixture at St James' Park on Boxing Day, when Tom Cleverley's 94th minute header secured three points.
As mentioned, Townsend and Doumbia could feature, and left-back Paul Dummett is available after a hamstring problem, while midfielder Jack Colback is close to a return from a similar injury.
But Tim Krul (knee), defenders Massadio Haidara (also knee) and Kevin Mbabu (thigh), midfielders Vurnon Anita (hamstring) and Siem de Jong (eye) and striker Papiss Cisse (groin) are still missing.
Niasse, signed from Lokomotiv Moscow on Deadline Day, will not be in the Everton squad as he arrived after the midday cut-off for registration, but he could be available against Stoke at the weekend.
Tim Howard faces a late fitness test to see whether he can reclaim his place. The United States international, who sat out the last two matches as Joel Robles played the cup games, picked up a knock to his knee in training and is a doubt.
Kevin Mirallas (tendon) has still not returned to training, while midfielder Muhamed Besic (hamstring) is out for another couple of weeks.
Romelu Lukaku has scored five goals and assisted four more in seven league appearances against Newcastle, and the Magpies have failed to score in three of their last four top-flight meetings with Everton.
Ross Barkley has scored in three of his five Premier League games against Newcastle and could make his 100th Premier League appearance in this match. He would be the second youngest player to make 100 Premier League appearances for Everton after Michael Ball (22y 60d old on match date).
Newcastle have conceded a league-high seven goals from outside the box in the Premier League this season.
Meanwhile, Everton have scored a league-low five goals from set-pieces in the league this season, with a league-high 87.5 per cent of their goals coming from open play.
Only Aston Villa (eight) have won fewer points from their last 10 Premier League games than Everton (nine).
Paul Merson's prediction
You just don't know what you are going to get with Everton. Last week I went with them to beat Swansea 4-0 and look what happened. I really thought Martinez's side would dominate Swansea, but they just didn't turn up.
They've got star players but they just don't win football matches. It must be so frustrating to be an Everton fan. You look at the team when it comes out onto the pitch and think it's a tremendous side.
There are not many of those players that do not get in other teams in the Premier League. On the other hand, Newcastle have bought well this month and have played well in patches. But Everton have got too many good players and sooner or later they have to start winning football matches.
I'm backing Everton again, this time by a score of 3-1 with Lukaku scoring first.
PAUL PREDICTS: 3-1 (Sky Bet, 11/1)
Everton are 8/13 favourites with Sky Bet with Newcastle 17/4 and the draw a 3/1 shot. The Toffees have a good recent record against the Magpies, but the visitors will be encouraged by Everton's poor home form, only three wins in their last 12 at Goodison, and can be backed at 11/10 in the Double Chance win or draw market.
Everton edged it on Boxing Day and are available at 11/4 to win by exactly one goal.
Sky Sports pundits Jamie Redknapp Phil Thompson and Matt Le Tissier are unanimous in their backing of Everton to win. See their selections here.