In the first Monday night game of the English Premier League season, Everton secured a fantastic 1-0 win over Manchester United.
A month on from that evening, they host Newcastle United in what promises to be another fascinating Monday night game at Goodison Park in front of the Sky Sports cameras.
David Moyes’s side are notoriously slow starters to a Premier League season, but have started the 2012-13 campaign in fine form, winning two of their first three games before slumping to a 2-0 defeat at West Brom before the international break.
They will be keen to recover from that loss, but face a tough test against Newcastle who will also be looking to build on a decent start to the season which has seen them already pick up a win against Tottenham Hotspur. Goodison Park always seems to be rocking on these sorts of nights and the crowd certainly played a big part in driving their side to victory against Sir Alex Ferguson’s men just as they have done on so many occasions against the so-called bigger teams.
Newcastle fans are also amongst the most passionate in the league and you can be sure they will be travel to Liverpool in great numbers. Indeed, if the game was being played at St James’ park, most of the things discussed in favour of Everton, would be reversed.
One of the main reasons for the good start by Everton is the fact they now have some genuine firepower up front. Croatian striker Nikica Jelavic was signed in January from Rangers and went on to score nine league goals in just 13 appearances in the second half of the season. He’s already scored against Aston Villa this season but the real bonus for Everton is that Jelavic has now been joined by his former teammate at Rangers, Steven Naismith as well as £6m signing from Olympiacos, Kevin Mirallas. Factor in the wonderful form of Marouane Fellaini and the creativity of Steven Pienaar and Everton have a wealth of attacking talent that can beat any side.
Newcastle’s back four who are usually so tough to break down could be missing two key components for the game in the shape of goalkeeper Tim Krul and defender Fabricio Coloccini who are both doubts to make the trip to Goodison.
Krul’s shot stopping and Coloccini’s leadership have been just two of the reasons why Newcastle have blossomed over the last 18 months. If these two players don’t make it, you’d have to make Everton strong favourites.
However, Alan Pardew’s men are blessed with attacking talent who can pick off teams at will when they click into top gear. The Senegal strikers Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse have proven themselves to be a handful for any Premier League defence. The duo are backed up by the superb French winger Hatem Ben Arfa and new signing Vurnon Anita.
With top defences and attacks on show in both teams, anything could happen in the 90 minutes. However, with Newcastle perhaps having one eye on their Europa League tie away to Maritimo on Thursday night, Everton should fancy their chances of another vital home win.Follow @JfGpodcast