Everton v Newcastle – confirmed starting XIs

For all Everton’s goals this season, their defence is the reason why they’re not pushing for a Champions League place. Only the top three teams have scored more goals than the Toffees, but only five of the bottom six have conceded more than them.

Everton aren’t Jekyll and Hyde because their stunning attack and comical defence actually turn up simultaneously. They may be a contradiction – so close to challenging the table-toppers at one end, so close to worrying about relegation at the other – but they are closer to the relegation zone than the Champions League places as it stands, and defeat tonight would leave them only six points clear of the drop zone.

That’s because victory for Newcastle would take them above Norwich and out of the relegation zone tonight. The big-spending Magpies have splashed more cash than all the clubs in the Bundesliga put together this January in the hopes of still being in the Big League when the new TV-rights bonanza rolls into town, and tonight could be a good chance for their attacking players to show their worth to the club and show that they have what it takes to keep Newcastle in the Premier League – every attacking player would surely relish lining-up against this Everton defence at the moment.

Here are the teams: