Going into this weekend, Newcastle are guaranteed to finish at least 5th in the Premier League, although victory at Everton – combined with dropped points by Arsenal or Tottenham – could see them climb into the top four.
Regardless, it has been a tremendous season for Alan Pardew and his team. They were tipped as a relegation candidate at the start of the year, but this is a distant memory.
Now, they are one of the best teams in the country and admired by many neutral fans.
After all the effort put in this season though, they will be determined to have one last push for Champions League football. To do this, they must win at Everton, so that is the challenge. Who would bet against them doing it?
At this time of year, people are discussing player of the year, manager of the year, signing of the year and goal of the year. Newcastle are involved in all of these and this says a lot. They can be proud of their campaign whatever happens on Sunday.
As for Everton, as the hosts, they will want to secure the points in this one. Not only would it mean they finish the season on a high, but it would guarantee that they finish above Liverpool. This is something they will be extremely determined to do.
David Moyes’ men are one of the form teams in the league of course, having gone eight games without a defeat. They may well have drawn their last two – making it four draws in six matches – but they have made themselves hard to beat and their form since the middle of January has been good.
When these two teams met earlier in the season, it ended in a narrow win for Newcastle and a tight game is anticipated once again. Newcastle need to hit the ground running in this one and with Everton strong at home and in confident mood, it should be a cracking match.