Alan Pardew has joked about combating the threat of Leighton Baines’ free kicks on Monday – but he warned Everton will have to pay serious attention to Yohan Cabaye too.
England left-back Baines scored twice from direct free kicks in Everton’s 3-2 win over West Ham United last week. The previous week he hit the crossbar from a set-piece against Chelsea.
And despite the fact he has not scored from a free kick since March, Pardew insists Cabaye is every bit as lethal with a dead ball.
“We’ve got this great idea – we’re going to have a wall and then a piggy-back wall on top of that and then we’re going to forget about the cross!” Pardew joked when asked how his side planned to deal with any Baines free kicks at Goodison Park.
“Obviously, we don’t want to give away too many free-kicks, but it is difficult when you are under pressure in the heat or whatever and you make a rash challenge.
“Against Hull, a bad tackle cost us an important goal.
“But I am sure Everton will be under the same orders because in Yohan Cabaye (pictured right), we have a free kick specialist just as good as Leighton Baines.”
Newcastle have won once at Goodison Park since 2001, courtesy of a stunning Hatem Ben Arfa goal on his full debut.
“Everton have always been a difficult side to beat, especially at Goodison. It’s a tough place to go. We got a 2-2 there last year and we really had to work hard to get that.
“They’re unbeaten in the league, and, though they lost in the cup, they’re in good shape.
“With the change in manager, their style of play is a bit different. Their retention of the ball will probably be greater under Roberto (Martinez, their new manager).
“Roberto has signed some good players and you would have to say it looks like a stronger squad than David (Moyes) had last year. The chairman there has done his bit and I think they look as if they could be the surprise package of the season.
“But what we have shown is that we have a real offensive look about us. Now it’s about making sure we are tight enough to cope with that.
“We weren’t against Hull, but in our previous three or four games we had been, and that’s important if we are going to have a more offensive look about us.
“We’ve got to make sure the back door is shut. It was against Leeds and to keep another clean sheet was a good thing.” Wednesday’s League Cup win over Leeds United was achieved without a clutch of regulars, most if not all of whom are expected to return for Monday’s televised game.
“Cabaye, Ben Arfa and (Moussa) Sissoko are rested and ready to go. They are a given when fit, those guys. Shola has a chance for Monday. Jonas is getting close but I do not know for Everton, maybe the week after for use. We are pretty healthy and hopefully that continues.”
The only exception could be a significant one. Loic Remy scored twice against Hull City last week, but missed the game against Leeds.
“He got a little strain on Tuesday,” said Pardew. “But he will be back training soon.”
Meanwhile, Pardew has talked up Gabriel Obertan’s chances of having an impact this season. The former Manchester United winger was on the verge of a move to Nottingham Forest in the transfer window, only for injury to put paid to that.
“At times Gabby (pictured right) has come in for a bit of stick here,” Pardew acknowledged. “But his pace is still a real asset to us – especially when we take the lead.
“He can come off the bench and stretch teams. Gabby’s desperate to do well here. We have more options now. I have to be able to make changes.”