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AKA "Colbacks's Orange Tufts" on ToonForum.

Preview: Everton vs Newcastle Utd – 30/09/13

Match preview by Cisse’s Overheating Torso, click here to go the our match discussion thread

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Monday night’s game sees Newcastle travel to Merseyside for a 8pm kick-off. A win here would leapfrog 8th place Everton who in turn want to jump into the top four. The home team are in impressive form and hence many neutrals see this fixture as Everton’s to lose. The match is live on Sky Sports and a plethora of non-terrestrial providers.

Form and Fans
Everton DDDWW – Newcastle LDWWL

Everton wish to remain the Premier League’s only unbeaten side. New manager Roberto Martinez has brought his passing style to the club, as opposed to the more direct approach of predecessor Moyes. So far the results have been sporadic, Everton’s possession ratio has markedly increased (twelve percent in the first three games), however in early games against Cardiff & West Brom they couldn’t turn this domination into goals. However, wins against Chelsea and West Ham have shown more promise.

Standing out amongst this new regime has been young Ross Barkley. In the absence of recently departed Fellani, Barkley has impressed in a new number 10 role. Chelsea loanee Lukaku looks to be continuing the great form he showed last season at West Brom. Positive words have also been uttered about new signing Gareth Barry, however personal dislike means I can’t bring myself to compliment him.

There does seem to be some ill will towards our club, as evidenced here and in our pre-match opposition thoughts post. Clumsy-at-best comments by Pardew have not endeared him to the Evertonians. There appears to be some isolated lingering dislike from our first time under Keegan. An impression is abound of Geordies looking down on Everton in a way that was inappropriate. Of course, this is another case of the (perceived) actions of a minority of our fans being extended to apply all of us. Everyone from Newcastle must be the same as what is seen on Sky Sports News!

As a Merseyside based Mag, it must be said that most blue noses on the street are the opposite of this and can be quite genial towards us. Indeed if we were to label all Evertonians as bitter we would be doing the same broad strokes generalisation.

Back to the game, Everton will line up 4-2-3-1 with two more defensive midfielders sitting ahead of the back four. Both full backs have the ability and their manager’s blessing to push forward. Baines deservedly gets plaudits for his ability to set up goals but Coleman is also dangerous. This will free the two wide midfielders to drift inwards and support the lone front man.

Coleman – Jagielka – Distin – Baines
McCarthy – Barry
Naismith – Barkley – Mirallas

As for Newcastle; only Jonás, Shola and the Taylors are first team absentees. The cup tie against Leeds midweek was a useful exercise to regain some confidence after a terrible game against Hull. It also let the manager view some of our fringe players. Youngsters Dummett and Ameobi put in very good performances impressing Pardew, who has intimated they are pushing for places. The same cannot be said for Messrs Obertan and Gosling. The former spoiled some decent opportunities lacking composure and the latter didn’t do enough to warrant an appearance at his old club.

Some, myself included, would prefer Remy moving to the centre, Ameobi out wide and resting the below par Cissé. However, I suspect the line-up will be the same as started against Hull, barring a frustratingly swap of Tioté for Anita.

<debuchy> <mym> <colo> <santon>
<tiote> <sissoko>
<hba> <cabaye> <remy>

Pre-Match Comments

“Everton have always been a difficult side to beat, especially at Goodison. It’s a tough place to go. We got a 2-2 there last year and we really had to work hard to get that. They’re unbeaten in the league, and, though they lost in the cup, they’re in good shape.

“With the change in manager, their style of play is a bit different. Their retention of the ball will probably be greater under Roberto (Martinez, their new manager). Roberto has signed some good players and you would have to say it looks like a stronger squad than David (Moyes) had last year. The chairman there has done his bit and I think they look as if they could be the surprise package of the season.

“But what we have shown is that we have a real offensive look about us. Now it’s about making sure we are tight enough to cope with that. We weren’t against Hull, but in our previous three or four games we had been, and that’s important if we are going to have a more offensive look about us. We’ve got to make sure the back door is shut. It was against Leeds and to keep another clean sheet was a good thing.”

“Cabaye, Ben Arfa and (Moussa) Sissoko are rested and ready to go. They are a given when fit, those guys. Shola has a chance for Monday. Jonás is getting close but I do not know for Everton, maybe the week after for use. We are pretty healthy and hopefully that continues.”

Martinez on Everton’s unbeaten run:

“It is a fantastic label to have but it is something we will have to work really hard to extend. It is a beautiful label to have but in September you don’t win anything. What we need to do is work harder because it is only beautiful if you can keep it until May because otherwise one day it will become a negative.”

Travel Advice
Trains between Manchester Airport and Manchester Piccadilly are currently suffering rail replacement buses. No other road or rail disruptions are expected.

Liverpool is Britain’s safest city and has friendly locals so is a good place for home fans. However, like all cities it has some not so great areas. Evertonians hopefully wouldn’t mind me saying that Stanley Park is one of those. Street parking is not a great idea, unless a local teenager is paid to look after your car. If fans are planning on going on the sauce after, get yourselves to town hastily and you will get a warm welcome. The Matthew Street area is the most raucous/infamous, with Concert Square/Bold Street attracting the younger student crows. Either way, one might struggle getting in places in a football top.

2 – 1 To Everton and a week of me finding blue noses wherever I go.

How do you think NUFC will do against Everton? Or just looking for somewhere to discuss the match before, during and afterwards? Have your say in our match discussion thread here.

Preview: Harper’s Testimonial XI vs AC Milan Glorie

ToonForum Logo Match preview by Cisse’s Overheating Torso, click here to go the our match discussion thread

19:00 Kick-Off

The venue, St James’ Park

To mark the end of long service/suffering for the club, a Newcastle Eleven are inviting a AC Milan side for Steve Harper’s testimonial this Wednesday. Kick off is at 7pm and proceeds are donated to great three local causes: Newcastle United Foundation, Great North Children’s Hospital and the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.

Harper’s Career
Born in 1975 in Easington, Harper’s career begun at Seaham Red Star. Following this non-professional trajectory he gained a place at Liverpool John Moores University. However, this was soon postponed as he was offered terms by Newcastle in 1993. Subsequently he was sent out on loan with Bradford City, ‘Heed, Stockport, ‘Pools and Huddersfield making 52 appearances.

Finally he made his debut as a substitute on 29th November 1998 in a 3 – 1 victory over Wimbledon, replacing an injured Shay Given. This became a pattern for his career, stepping in to replace the first team keeper, often his friend and rival Given. Despite this status he made 157 appearances for Newcastle. In the Championship season of 2009/10, he surpassed Willie McFaul’s record for clean sheets in a season with 21.

After a brief loan spell with Brighton in 2011 and increasingly sparse appearances, it was announced he would leave on a free this summer, only to be snapped up by newly promoted Hull. A local player who stayed at the club for such a long time, he has been cited as a great influence on the dressing room. This is particularly true with Tim Krul, helping him progress from youth prospect to firm No. 1. Tim paid tribute to Steve:

“I was 17 when I first met Harps and he’s been fantastic with me from day one. I was just a young boy, a baby back then, in a new country and away from home for the first time and I think Steve still sees me as his student now. But he’s taught me so much and I owe a massive amount to him. He’s been a great teacher. He’s worked with me on a lot of things and helped me to improve. He’s a great guy and a great keeper and he’s always been supportive. Even more recently, when I’ve been in the team, knowing that a great keeper like that was breathing down my neck certainly kept me on my toes.”

Ticket Info
Over 40,000 tickets have already been sold and this match could approach a sell-out. Tickets are £5,10 for concessions and adults respectively. Limited Cash Turnstiles will have been confirmed, opening from 5.30pm at turnstiles 75, 76. At time of writing, there are no plans to televise the game.

Team News
The strength of squads on offer pay testament to the respect Steve garners amongst fellow pros. This includes long journeys for messrs Asprilla and Solano and appearances by current pros Barton and Nolan. Specific team news is scant, although it would appear that the once frightening partnership of Shearer and Ferdinand will be re-united at kick off.

Tino Asprilla, Peter Beardsley, Joey Barton, John Beresford, Lee Bowyer, Olivier Bernard, Nicky Butt, Andy Cole, Nicos Dabizas, Kieron Dyer, Les Ferdinand, Ruel Fox, Keith Gillespie, David Ginola, Shay Given, Steve Harper, Brian Kilcline, Paul Kitson, Rob Lee, Kevin Nolan, Liam O’Brien, Darren Peacock, Alessandro Pistone, Scott Sellars, Alan Shearer, Nobby Solano, Pavel Srnicek, Alan Thompson, Steve Watson, Steve Stone

The AC side will be captained by Franco Baresi, the 53 year old Milan player of the century having visited Newcastle last week to publicise the match. Amongst many big names, standouts include the evergreen Maldini, clean playing Van Bommel and brilliantly named Zvonimir Boban. One player making the short journey from Wearside to be sure of a warm welcome is Paolo Di Canio, a classy act by the Italian.

Ibrahim Ba, Franco Baresi, Zvonimir Boban, Angelo Carbone, Alessandro Costacurta, Paolo Di Canio, Roberto Favalli, Federico Giunti, Christian Lantignotti, Gianluigi Lentini, Paolo Maldini, Daniele Massaro, Roberto Mussi, Massimo Oddo, Guiseppe Pancaro, Sebastiano Rossi, Massimo Taibi, Mark van Bommel, Pietro Vierchowod, Christian Vieri

Mark Clattenburg will referee this match. His last testimonial at this ground resulted in a controversial late penalty that many have suggested was soft.

In His Own Words
“To have secured the players we have is a real coup for us. It’s fantastic to have big, high-profile names supporting the charities we are raising money for and we’re very grateful to have Milan Glorie and some of the biggest names in world football flying in from Italy.

“The Newcastle United Foundation, Great North Children’s Hospital and the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation are incredible causes in their own right and we’re very fortunate to have them on our doorstep in Newcastle.

“Every penny raised from the game will go towards boosting their vital contributions to the North East.”

“I remember when Shay arrived. He was a year younger and came into training and it was “phew, this has gone up a level. This is where you have got to be.”

“But it was great. We worked very well together, bounced off each other. He helped me and I’d like to think I helped him.”

“He is a great guy, and a fantastic goalkeeper. I did enjoy those years. It would just have been nice if I had got a bit more of it.”

“If I could speak to myself ten years ago I would do it differently. Shay and I were neck and neck, then he kicked on for four years and I played about six matches.”

I played the first game of the season under Graeme Souness in Slovenia and I never played again that season. That just is not right. I should have done more about it at the time.”

“I probably blame Sir Bobby. I rapped on his door many times, asked for a move and he said `I need you, Shay might get injured’. He had that persuasive loveable thing when you entered the room like a bear with a sore head and left it giving him a hug.”