Newcastle United-Everton Preview
While Newcastle United hope they've done enough through the transfer window to upgrade a muddling offence and help break free of the relegation zone, the immediate goal is to find any way possible to end their road troubles.
Everton, meanwhile, likely must improve their defensive play in order to avoid going winless in six straight Premier League home matches for the first time in six seasons.
The two struggling sides in the bottom half of the table look to get back on track Wednesday night at Goodison Park.
Newcastle's 25 goals are among the fewest in the top division, and an obvious reason they enter this week's league play two points from safety. Their lone goal during a four-game road skid over all competitions came last time out in a 2-1 defeat at Watford on Jan. 23.
The Magpies (5-6-12) have managed six goals and been blanked six times in league play while going 2-1-8 on the road.
"It is disappointing and frustrating because we are not getting the results we deserve," said manager Steve McClaren, whose club has totaled seven goals during a 1-2-4 Premier League stretch.
"But it is all about goals and if you don't score you don't win."
In an attempt to solve that glaring problem, Newcastle signed 28-year-old Ivory striker Seydou Doumbia on loan from AS Roma for the remainder of the regular season. Roma had previously loaned the Ivory Coast international to CSKA Moscow, with whom he scored 11 goals in 21 matches spanning domestic and Champions League play in 2015-16.
"(Doumbia's a) natural goalscorer, someone who has scored goals in the Champions League and has played at the highest level," McClaren said. "We believe he can make a mark (on) this team.''
Though the Magpies failed in a late bid to land West Bromwich Albion forward Saido Berahino, they did pick up veteran midfielders Andros Townsend (Spurs), Jonjo Shelvey (Swansea City) and Henri Saivert (Bordeaux) in January. Newcastle also announced that striker Ayoze Perez has signed through 2021.
"The truth is I'm really happy here, so it's a good thing for me," said Perez, who is second on the team with five goals over all competitions.
Perez scored once in a 3-2 home win over Everton last season - the Magpies' only victory in the last eight meetings. They managed one shot on target and allowed the Toffees (6-11-6) to maintain 57 percent possession in a 1-0 home defeat on Boxing Day.
Newcastle is 0-1-3 at Goodison Park since their only win in the last 12 league matches, 1-0 on Sept. 18, 2010.
However, Everton's December win over the Magpies is their lone triumph during a 1-6-3 league stretch. They've gone 0-2-3 at home since beating Aston Villa on Nov. 21 for their most recent top-flight victory there. The Toffees haven't gone six consecutive Premier League home fixtures without a win since 2009-10.
Everton have shipped half of their 22 league home goals in the last five at Goodison, which doesn't help coach Roberto Martinez's job security. However, his side should feel a little better after rolling to a 3-0 road win over Carlisle United in Sunday's FA Cup match to progress to a fifth-round clash at Bournemouth.
"We're looking forward to Wednesday's game against Newcastle because it's a very important game for us," Martinez said.
Everton's Romelu Lukaku is second in the league with 15 goals but has failed to score in four consecutive matches.
Teammate Aaron Lennon recorded his second goal in his last four games and also recorded an assist Sunday. He could see more Premier League time after watching the 2-1 home loss to Swansea on Jan. 24.
"You want to see players in good moments of form who are ready to affect the scoreline in games," Martinez told Everton's official website.
The Toffees loaned midfielder Aiden McGeady to Sheffield Wednesday of the Championship as the transfer window deadline neared. His only appearance for Everton this season came in an August League Cup win over Barnsley.
Despite their defensive deficiencies, Everton's lone splash in the transfer window was the acquisition of forward Oumar Niasse from Russian side Lokomotiv Moscow for £13.5 million. The Senegal international, who is expected to make his debut Saturday at Stoke City and is signed through June 2020, was the Russian Premier League player of the year in 2015 and had 13 goals and 10 assists in 23 appearances for Lokomotiv.
"We're delighted because Oumar is a player we have been following for a long time," Martinez told evertontv. "He is the right personality and someone who is in a very good moment of his career. He has a lot of success in Russia and he brings a different quality to what we already have in our squad."