Everton look to bounce back from two consecutive defeats with a midweek trip to face Newcastle United.
The Toffees came unstuck against Tottenham Hotspur at the weekend and have fallen to 14th place as a result.
Scoring goals is definitely becoming a concern with only Aston Villa, Wolves and Nottingham Forest conceding fewer goals than Frank Lampard’s side.
As a result, their next opponents being the Premier League’s best defence so far this season is not exactly ideal.
Last time out
Evertonians will retain fond memories of the last encounter their side had with the Magpies.
Deep in the midst of the club’s survival bid, Eddie Howe’s side came calling to Goodison on a Thursday night and an eventful match followed.
Play was halted for eight minutes as an environmental protestor cable-tied himself to the Gwladys Street goalposts and Allan was later handed a controversial red card after a VAR review.
Then, in the 99th minute, Alex Iwobi broke through the Newcastle defence and slotted home a vital winner to send Goodison Park into delirium.
One to watch – Jordan Pickford
As ever when it comes to facing the Tyneside outfit, Jordan Pickford will undoubtedly be the centre of attention.
The goalkeeper’s past allegiance with Sunderland always makes him a target for the Newcastle supporters and there have been one or two incidents of the occasion having an effect on the England international.
Indeed, he missed the aforementioned clash at Goodison despite not appearing to be injured, having started the match before it and the one after it.
It’s unlikely Asmir Begovic will be preferred to Pickford for this game and hopefully the 28-year-old recognises the most effective way to shut up the baying crowd is with a top performance between the sticks.
One to watch – Bruno Guimaraes
The Toffees have been handed a boost with two of Newcastle’s most effective attackers, Allan Saint-Maximin and Alexander Isak both being ruled out through injury.
However, enigmatic midfielder Bruno Guimaraes, almost unquestionably the Magpies’ crowning jewel, will be fit to play.
It took £40m to prise the Brazilian away from Lyon in January, making him one of the biggest outlays made by the club since the Saudi takeover.
But he has already repaid a large chunk of that fee with seven goals and two assists in 24 appearances and Everton’s ever-improving midfield will have to be at their best to keep him quiet.
A rather inexplicable rivalry has emerged between these two clubs in recent years, perhaps somewhat fuelled by Pickford’s relationship with the Geordies.
There will be a lot of Evertonians eager for their side to get one over on Newcastle, but they are perhaps underestimating their opponents a little.
The Magpies hold a formidable home record under Eddie Howe with only Liverpool and Manchester City coming away from St. James’ Park with all three points since the former Bournemouth boss was appointed in November 2021.
The Toffees are still a work in progress, particularly on the road and with their upcoming opponents on a good run of form, a draw would by no means by the worst result.