Everton boss Roberto Martinez has pleaded for patience throughout the club, despite still being unbeaten in the Premier League five matches into his first season in charge at Goodison Park. Everton are the only club yet to taste defeat in what Martinez has described as “the most competitive league in the world,” but the former Wigan manager still seems plenty of room for improvement.
"We look back at our first three fixtures and we feel we dropped six points we deserved to take from those matches,” he said, according to Everton’s official website. “But it is important that you always find a way to be competitive and so to be undefeated now is a great label to have and we want to carry that on -- we want to extend it and make sure we can learn from each game to try and get the best out of what is a very exciting squad with huge potential."
“The options we have and the different ways we can play means it can take time but we are in a strong position and we need to make sure we are patient with the talent we have in the dressing room.”
Martinez will hope to keep their unbeaten run going in Tuesday’s home clash with Newcastle United in a match where Gareth Barry is set to join an elite club of players to make 500 appearances in the Premier League. Only two of those outings have been for Everton, but the midfielder has already made a significant impact since arriving on-loan from Manchester City -- helping his new side to impressive victories over Chelsea and West Ham.
Leon Osman and Arouna Kone look set to come back into contention, while Steven Pienaar may also return. Paraguayan defender Antolin Alcaraz has suffered a setback on his return to fitness, however, and could be out for another four weeks.
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Recent history is stacked against Newcastle becoming the first club to defeat Everton in the league this season. Newcastle have won only once in their last 10 visits to Goodison Park, while they have tasted victory in just three of their last 22 Premier League away matches.
Alan Pardew is likely to restore Hatem Ben Arfa, Yohan Cabaye and Loic Remy to the side after resting them for Wednesday’s 2-0 Capital One Cup victory over Leeds Unites. Shola Ameobi and Steven Taylor should return to the squad but Jonas Gutierrez is likely to have to wait until Saturday’s trip to Cardiff to make his return.
D: Coleman, Jagielka, Distin, Baines
M: Osman, Barry
Mirallas, Barkley, Naismith
D: Debuchy, Yanga-Mbiwa, Coloccini, Santon
M: Sissoko, Anita, Cabaye
F: Ben Arfa, Cisse, Remy
Prediction: After an impressive victory over Aston Villa, Newcastle took a step back by twice letting leads slip before falling to a 3-2 defeat at home to newly promoted Hull City. The defense, while having good individuals still lacks organization and there remain too many errors. Going forward Papiss Cisse has yet to regain the form he showed initially upon his arrival. Ben Arfa is key to the side’s creativity. It promises to be an intriguing and important battle between Ben Arfa and Leighton Baines down one side of the pitch.
Expect Martinez’s men to have a firm control of possession, with Barry providing important continuity in the center. Up front Everton finally have a striker in Romelu Lukaku who can be counted on to find the back of the net on a regular basis. The unbeaten run looks set to go on and Everton should get their third successive Premier League win.
Everton 2-1 Newcastle United
Where to watch: The Barclays Premier League match will kick-off at 3 p.m. ET. Coverage will be provided by the NBC Sports Network, with a live stream available on NBC Sports Live Extra.