Newcastle United head to Goodison Park to face relegation-threated Everton looking to bounce back from some horrendous officiating at Stamford Bridge that cheated the visiting Magpies out of a deserved win or at least a point against the World and European Champions Chelsea which has sparked real debate again over the integrity of the officials in England football after another weekend of unacceptable decisions.
The first act of controversy was German international Kai Havertz staying on the pitch after blatantly elbowing Geordie defender Dan Burn, who had blood pouring from the wound for the rest of the game, when the striker should have been sent off:
And the second major incident of disgrace was Newcastle not being awarded one of the most blatant penalties of the season so far when United winger Jacob Murphy was hauled down by Blues defender Trevor Chalobah in the area with the pull on his shirt and clumsy tackle deemed a penalty by everyone watching the game except referee David Coote - who to be fair was unsighted - and VAR official John Brooks, who has absolutely no excuse watching a video replay and should be stepped down as a top flight official and be investigated for corruption after failing to award the spot-kick.
To rub salt on the wound and compound the injustice, naturally it was Havertz, who shouldn't have been on the pitch still who scored Chelsea's late winner with a fine touch and finish from a Jorginho pass but everyone connected with Newcastle United was furious at the decisions or non-decisions of the officials not least manager Eddie Howe who could not believe his side hadn't been awarded a penalty:
Injured Newcastle midfielder Issac Hayden took to Twitter to express his thoughts at the miscarriage of justice and landed himself in hot water at The Football Association, who have asked him to clarify his comments about Newcastle facing "12 men":
Regular readers of my blogs will know the strength of feelings of this writer on the subject of Newcastle United and the referees who regularly rob the club and I have again urged the powers-that-be to rectify with immediate effect an ongoing situation that is denying the club and its fans the results it deserves on a level playing field:
Everton Up Next and Angry Toon Can Take It Out On The Toffees
Newcastle play Everton next in a Thursday night game live on Amazon Prime, the rearranged game from December 30th that was postponed due to Covid injuries, and Eddie Howe's Magpies will be smarting after losing their 9-game unbeaten record in such unjust circumstances although Everton have had similar reason to feel aggrieved after Man City somehow got away with this handball in the box at Goodison Park recently, a spot kick that could have earned Frank Lampard's men an important point:
Everton received an apology from PGMOB Referees' Chief Mike Riley after the incident but that will be of no comfort to the Merseyside club, who are now in serious danger of relegation after losing four of their last five matches in The Premier League and facing an extremely tough run-in including away trips to Liverpool, West Ham, Leicester and Arsenal while facing Chelsea and Man United at Goodison Park.
Frank Lampard cut a very worried figure after his side's 5-0 mauling at Spurs recently when his side were bereft of confidence and any sort of game plan and a total lack of fight and desire and a non-existent defensive unit complete with England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford making howlers could well be a recipe for relegation:
One of Lampard's first games in charge was away to Newcastle and he suffered a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Eddie Howe's resurgent Magpies with England international Kieran Trippier putting the icing on the cake with a free-kick past his Three Lions teammates Pickford who was being hounded at The Gallowgate End:
Lampard is sweating on the fitness of 4 players including striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who scored 25 goals in all competitions last season but has only managed 9 appearances so far in the 2021/22 campaign scoring 3 times & none since August:
Everton's problems extend off the pitch as well with the club sailing very close to the wind in terms of Financial Fair Play after some disastrous spending sprees in recent years although an agreement with the Premier League has been reached to avoid points deductions but considering they are building an expensive new stadium, they can ill afford to be relegated from The Premier League and the loss of revenue it would entail.
Newcastle will be hoping to instantly put that undeserved disappointment at Stamford Bridge behind them and in his presser, Manager of the Month for April Eddie Howe relayed the return of midfielder Joe Willock from illness and his return to training but injury concerns over Joelinton and JonJo Shelvey:
With Newcastle going on a warm-weather break in Dubai following the Everton game and the international break and it may be best not to risk them meaning a likely midfield trio of Bruno Guimaraes, Willock and Sean Longstaff and the same logic may apply to resting Ryan Fraser with Miguel Almiron possibly keeping his place in the side:
Eddie Howe has always given the impression that if players come into the side and do well then they will likely keep their place in the line-up although after Allan Saint-Maximin was "unplayable" against Everton at home will return and to a man Newcastle were excellent at Chelsea and worked very hard and were deserving of a least a point and Howe said the penalty not given still "burns" and the manager knows The Magpies will have to be their very best to get something at an Everton side fighting for their lives:
Prediction - Newcastle United 2 Everton 1