Everton produced their worst performance of the season as they went down 2-0 to Newcastle United at Goodison Park.
In light of Steve Bruce’s side’s dreadful form, Carlo Ancelotti went with a much more offensive line-up for the match, with Alex Iwobi, James Rodríguez and Richarlison all starting in support of Dominic Calvert-Lewin. With the likes of Cenk Tosun and Bernard set to depart the club in the next few days, the Italian fielded two goalkeepers on his substitute’s bench, exemplifying the need for Everton to strengthen in this the last few days of the January transfer window.
Somewhat predictably, The Toffees failed to get going in the first half, with the visitors’ low block suppressing any real space the hosts’ attackers could exploit. Lacking dynamism in the middle of the pitch, particularly from the ever-anonymous Gylfi Sigurdsson, Everton’s best moments came down the left hand side, with the clever interplay between Richarlison and Lucas Digne seeming like Everton’s best hope of scoring a goal. But, much like their attacking endeavours against Leicester City on Wednesday night, there was no substance to The Toffees’ play, with their lack of movement, lack of urgency and lack of accuracy suggesting that the ugly Everton of the last thirty years, incapable of capitalising on opportunities presented to them, was here to play.
Conversely, Newcastle were a lot better than they have been recently, with Callum Wilson, a frequent thorn in the side of The Blues, offering an effective outlet which the likes of Miguel Almirón and Ryan Fraser were able to work off. After half-chances fell for Jonjo Shelvey, who enjoyed one of his best performances in a Newcastle shirt, the away side’s best opening of the first half fell for Wilson, who glanced a brilliant corner towards Jordan Pickford’s goal, with the latter producing a stunning save to keep the scores level at the break.
Full Time: Everton 0-0 Newcastle United
Everton’s performance after the interval was equally as ghastly as the first forty five. Unable to keep the ball for more than a handful of passages of play, The Toffees were devoid of any of the physicality and creativity needed to break past a resilient Newcastle side, with the latter enjoying much more control and territory as the second half unfolded.
Following periods of decent pressure, which included an incredible chance for Wilson, who swept wide from a wonderful cross, The Magpies did indeed find the net. In exactly the same fashion as his header in the first half, Wilson wriggled free from a set-piece and diverted Shelvey’s corner into the bottom left hand corner of Pickford’s net. It was a stunning finish but for Everton to afford Wilson this kind of space was criminal and an embodiment of the apathy and irresponsibility that characterised their play.
GET IN THERE!!!!!!!!!!!!! 🙌🙌 pic.twitter.com/ILov6Kwh7d
— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) January 30, 2021
Despite the arrival of André Gomes, who gave the home side some control in the latter stages, Everton looked miles away from finding an equaliser and seemed defeated before the final whistle had even been blown. Their misery was compounded in added time when Newcastle struck home a second. As Everton pressed forward, the visitors broke brilliantly, with Jamal Lewis, who looked more like his usual, superb self this afternoon, feeding Wilson, who slotted past Pickford to secure The Toon’s first victory since December 12th.
The most disappointing element of Everton’s performance and result was its predictability. Despite the progress they have enjoyed this season, whenever The Toffees have faced significant pressure, they have continued to wilt. From the Merseyside Derby to Manchester United, both in the league and cup, to today, against one of the most technically bereft teams to ever grace the Premier League, The Toffees have wasted glorious opportunities to press on and assert themselves in the conversation for European football and silverware.
— Everton (@Everton) January 30, 2021
This exemplifies how that even with one of the most decorated managers in the sport in charge and with some of the most gifted footballers in the club’s recent history at their disposal, the culture of losing when it matters is deep-seated at Everton and requires arduous surgery at multiple levels to uproot. Until then, they will remain the nearly men of the Premier League, unable to be relied upon for anything other than letting you down when it really counts.
Full Time: Everton 0-2 Newcastle United
James’ Man of the Match: Callum Wilson (Newcastle United)