This weekend, Premier League team Everton F.C. hosted Newcastle F.C. for a very important game for both teams. Everton is suffering from a recent slump, with no wins in their last five games. Though the team is showing good form in Europe, manager Robert Martinez is under pressure to lift the team to safety and towards a more favorable position in the table, as they are currently sitting seven points above the relegation zone. Newcastle is coming off some erratic play, with many of the fans unhappy with the way the team is approaching their games and their league standing. 

The game at Goodison Park started off with both sides putting up a even fight. Everton had changed its line-up a lot from the previous week, with Leon Osman and Aroune Kone coming in to replace Gareth Barry and Steven Naismith. Newcastle lost Papiss Cisse to a seven-game ban because of a spitting incident.  

However, after 20 minutes, Everton began to show their dominance. Romelu Lukaku took down the ball from the air before laying it off to James McCarthy, who took two touches and placed it in the bottom right corner with the keeper already committed to going the other way. After that goal, Everton seemed to gain of confidence and pushed forward. With Everton in firm control, it was only a matter of time before the second goal. The Newcastle team managed to hold on until halftime with the teams going in with a score of 1–0 to Everton. After the teams came out of the break, Newcastle was once again on the back foot. Everton finally got their second goal through some wonderful pressure from Aaron Lennon, dispossessing Yoan Gouffran and then being fouled by him in the box. Lukaku then took his second penalty of the week, placing this one into the bottom right corner. 

The game was not looking promising for the Newcastle side, and they began to show their frustration. The climax of this irritation came from Newcastle captain Fabricio Coloccini. Coloccini made an attempt to dispossess Aaron Lennon with a two-footed challenge, and, with none of the ball being touched, it was an easy decision for the referee to pull out a red card. 

After that very clumsy move by the Newcastle captain, Everton looked more comfortable than ever, passing the ball around the Newcastle midfield with ease. 

The away team managed to only threaten the goal once, producing the only real save from goalie Tim Howard. In the 92nd minute, the Newcastle team had a chance to get a goal back to make the score-line more favorable. However, because of their commitment they were left prone to a counterattack. After clearing the Newcastle chance, the ball fell to Everton player Christian Atsu. Atsu used his pace to run at the defense and produce a perfect through-ball for Ross Barkley to take around the keeper and slot into the empty net.  

Martinez was very happy with the performance, commenting on the team’s domination. “The mindset today wasn’t of a team who had fear of losing at home. Some of the play was outstanding, but when we had to defend and work hard for each other, we did that with total composure.”

This weekend produced many other important results as well. Manchester City lost 1-0 to Burnley through a well-taken George Boyd goal. This loss set them further back from league leaders Chelsea, who tied Southampton 1-1, with goals from Diego Costa for the Blues and a penalty from Dusan Tadic for the Saints. Manchester United produced a very impressive win over their rivals from Europe, Tottenham. Wayne Rooney, Maroune Fellaini  and Michael Carrick contributed to the impressive 3-0 score-line. 

—Colin Warnes