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Newcastle United 3 Everton 2 | Talking Points

Newcastle staged an excellent second-half comeback to beat Everton 3-2 after Marco Silva’s side let a two-goal lead slip. Rafael Benitez’s side are now only three points behind the Blues and have edged closer to Premier League safety.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin opened the scoring after 18 minutes with a cool header, latching onto Lucas Digne’s terrific cross. Everton then nearly let their lead slip when Jordan Pickford failed to hold onto a cross and clattered into Solomon Rondon giving away a penalty. The England number one redeemed himself, however, saving Matt Ritchie’s weak effort from the spot.

Everton then went on to double their lead moments later as Richarlison tapped in a rebounded Andre Gomes shot. Silva’s men looked comfortable going into the second half, but Newcastle’s spirited performance was too much for the Toffees.

Rondon and Ayoze Perez were at the heart of the fightback, as the Spaniard found Newcastle’s leading goal scorer with a cross which Rondon met with a superb volley that slipped under a sprawling Pickford.

Perez then turned finisher as he scored twice in three minutes to seal a win for the Magpies. His first goal came after Pickford failed to keep hold of a stinging shot and knocked the ball straight into the path of the Spaniard.

Perez then scored under some controversy as he appeared to be offside when a looping ball came back into Everton’s box. The striker did not touch the ball and it was Rondon who assisted the goal as Perez came back into an onside position. Replays of the goal appeared to show Rondon was offside as well, but it went unnoticed by the officials. This led to an enraged Marco Silva confronting referee Lee Mason after the full-time whistle.

Despite a potential offside goal, Everton’s second half was dreadfully underwhelming; the visitors failed to extend their lead despite having opportunities to do so. Their defence frailties have been glaringly obvious this season and were highlighted once more as they switched off in the last ten minutes to concede twice to lose the game. Newcastle fans will be ecstatic with the win as they now remain six points clear of the relegation zone with their fifth consecutive win at St. James’ Park.

Ayoze Perez’s performance key to victory

The Spanish forward had a spectacular second half as him and Rondon spearheaded the comeback.

After a disappointing first half, a strong performance saw the Magpies take all three points. It was Perez who was at the heart of the upturn in fortunes; his assist for the first goal along with his brace meant that he was the most influential player on the pitch.

Perez has always been a key player under Benitez and today he proved why. With the potential of being dragged back into the relegation battle, and two goals down to a team higher in the league, Perez’s performance was the opposite of a defeated player as he took the game by the scruff of the neck resulting in an emphatic comeback victory.

Everton’s shaky defence proves the difference

After last week’s dogged derby day performance, Everton began to show signs that their defensive problems had been fixed. Though on Saturday, Silva admitted that his side need to ‘take a look at themselves’ as they slipped to another poor defeat.

The source of both second goals was slack defending as Everton simply failed to remain switched on. This proved the difference as both times Perez was the most alert player on the pitch, following in chances that the Everton defence did not.

Pickford’s poor performance raising alarms

With Gareth Southgate soon to announce his squad for the next round of international fixtures, a poor performance today will have not been what Pickford will have wanted. After giving away a penalty in bizarre fashion, a save from the spot kick seemed to have made up for his mistake.

However, the England number one never really looked comfortable. He opted to punch the ball away more often than trying to catch it, and after he spilt the shot that led to the second goal, the loss capped a day to forget for Pickford.

It would be unfair to discredit him on this performance as he has saved points for his side on numerous occasions this season but with international duties looming, he will be far from happy with his display at St. James’ Park.

Are Newcastle safe from relegation?

With 38 points expected to be the safety mark this season, Newcastle took a big stride towards attaining that estimate with their victory over Everton. They are now on 34 points, six clear of Cardiff who are in 18th.

Newcastle have hit form when it matters most which is a testament to Benitez’s ability to get results for his team. Whatever was said in the changing room at half-time worked wonders and with five consecutive wins at home, Newcastle are surely going to avoid relegation.

With only six points potentially needed and eight games remaining, they could see themselves finishing in the top half of the table if they continue to play as they have recently.

Man of the Match – Ayoze Perez

An assist and two goals will have been exactly what Benitez was asking for at half time and the Spaniard delivered. His side needed someone to take control of the game and earn some points; He did just that and won them the game.

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