Newcastle United have 'very good' Sven Botman 'replacement' as key contract decision highlighted v Everton

Newcastle United 1-1 Everton: Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored a late penalty to rescue a point for the struggling Toffees at St James' Park.
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Newcastle United missed the opportunity to move up to seventh in the Premier League as they were held to a 1-1 draw with Everton at St James' Park.

Alexander Isak scored his 19th goal of the season for The Magpies in the 15th minute and thought he had set up Dan Burn to make it 2-0 in the second half only for VAR to intervene and rule the goal out. VAR got involved once again in the closing stages to award Everton a penalty following a foul from Paul Dummett on Ashley Young.

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Substitute Dominic Calvert-Lewin stepped up and converted in the 88th minute to snatch a point for the visitors.

Here are five talking points from the match...

Four Newcastle United changes as injuries force Eddie Howe's hand

Newcastle head coach Eddie Howe made four changes from the side that beat West Ham United 4-3 at the weekend. Jamaal Lascelles and Tino Livramento dropped out due to injury while Anthony Gordon was suspended against his former club and Joe Willock dropped to the bench.

Emil Krafth came into the side for his first Premier League start since May 2022 while Elliot Anderson and Lewis Hall made their first league starts since October and November respectively. Harvey Barnes was also back in the starting line-up following his match-winning two-goal cameo against West Ham.

Despite Newcastle's unfamiliar starting line-up, they made a positive start to the game and took the lead as Barnes' lofted ball was controlled by Isak, who cut inside and showed great composure to find the bottom right corner of the goal.

Alexander Isak celebrates scoring against Everton. Alexander Isak celebrates scoring against Everton.
Alexander Isak celebrates scoring against Everton.

Injury situation unlikely to improve soon for Newcastle

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With 12 first-team players ruled out, Howe was forced to name two goalkeepers on the bench as well as youngsters Joe White, Amadou Diallo, Alex Murphy and Ben Parkinson to make up the numbers. And it could well be a similar situation next up against Fulham with Anthony Gordon the only player expected to return for that match following his suspension.

When asked about the injuries to Miguel Almiron, Tino Livramento and Kieran Trippier, Howe said: "We don't think they are serious but when we've got a glut of games it's going to hurt us short-term.

"Miggy will be out around a month with a knee injury and Tino around the same with an ankle injury. Kieran is not ready to play yet so he won't be back for the Fulham game definitely. That's where we are while the others continue to be out."

Hall was forced off in the closing stages of the match with Howe citing 'fatigue' as the reason for his withdrawal while Jacob Murphy was struggling after being on the receiving end of a challenge from James Tarkowski. Both players will be assessed ahead of the trip to Craven Cottage.

Newcastle United right-back Kieran Trippier. (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)Newcastle United right-back Kieran Trippier. (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)
Newcastle United right-back Kieran Trippier. (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)

Newcastle United's stand-in skipper leads by example

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Dan Burn has been the subject of some criticism when playing at left-back for Newcastle this season. A return to centre-back marked a real return to form for the 31-year-old, who was dominant in the air and on the ground against a physical Everton side.

It's the role Burn first established himself in as a Newcastle player and one he will have to get used to again given the long-term ACL injuries to centre-backs Sven Botman and Jamaal Lascelles. If the Blyth-born defender can maintain the level of performance he demonstrated on Tuesday night, their defensive issues may not turn out quite as bad as first feared following the double injury blow.

"I thought Dan was really, really good tonight and I thought he needed to be with the threat they possess aerially," Howe admitted. "He looked really composed, great in the tackle so a very, very good performance from him and I'm delighted for Dan with how he's been the past few games."

Burn's impressive display was almost capped off with what could have been a winning goal as he tapped the ball from Isak's cross only for a VAR check to rule the goal out for offside. It was a tight call but replays showed Isak was marginally offside as Jacob Murphy attempted to take a quick free-kick.

A missed opportunity for Newcastle United

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It has been over four months since Newcastle have won consecutive Premier League matches. For a side with European ambitions, it could prove to be their undoing with a failure to find the second goal against Everton ultimately seeing them drop two points at home once again.

Barnes came close in the second half and Bruno Guimaraes also had an opportunity but perhaps the best chance of the game came when Barnes pulled the ball back to Isak only for the striker to be denied by a goalline clearance from Vitaliy Mykolenko.

"I thought we should have won the game based on the chances we had which was why the second goal was so important," Howe admitted.

"They were always one kick away or a set-play away from hurting you. I thought we did that part of our game really, really when you consider the youth of our team.

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"It's that clinical edge and scoring that second goal is what we needed."

The Magpies have now played three of the bottom five at home since Christmas and failed to beat any of them. This time was down to a failure to take chances followed by an individual error of judgement.

Jordan Pickford in action against Newcastle United. Jordan Pickford in action against Newcastle United.
Jordan Pickford in action against Newcastle United.

Paul Dummett concedes a late penalty as contract decision looms

Paul Dummett grappling Ashley Young to the ground to concede a penalty had a very 2014-15 Premier League season feel to it. Yet here Newcastle are in 2024 having to rely on squad players who have hardly featured in recent seasons to try and see games out.

Ashley Young of Everton is brought down by Paul Dummett of Newcastle United and a penalty kick was subsequently awarded following a VAR review during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Everton FC at St. James Park on April 02, 2024 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images) (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)Ashley Young of Everton is brought down by Paul Dummett of Newcastle United and a penalty kick was subsequently awarded following a VAR review during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Everton FC at St. James Park on April 02, 2024 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images) (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Ashley Young of Everton is brought down by Paul Dummett of Newcastle United and a penalty kick was subsequently awarded following a VAR review during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Everton FC at St. James Park on April 02, 2024 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images) (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Perhaps back in 2015, Dummett would have got away with it. But the ever-scrutinising eye of VAR meant the 32-year-old was never going to escape punishment.

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It came just six minutes after the Geordie was introduced in place of Hall. Seeing a high-pressure Premier League game out was not an easy task for a player who had played just four minutes of top-flight football over the past two years.

But it does pose a very pertinent question regarding Dummett's contract situation. While Newcastle need all the defensive help they can get given the injury situation, can a side with upward ambitions really afford to be handing out new contracts to such players moving forward?

A bit of goodwill with a new deal after qualifying for the Champions League last season was tolerated. But the room for sentimentality - in a world of PSR and high-level competition - is in short supply.