In a surprising afternoon of football, Newcastle beat Everton 0-2 at Goodison Park to record their first win of 2021.
The Magpies only move up one space in the table to 15th but the victory and the impressive performance could now inspire them to turn their season around; it was that impressive of a display and it was led by one man: Callum Wilson.
Coming into this game, Wilson had gone eight seven games without a goal. His last strike earned Newcastle a point at home to Fulham just before Christmas. Since then he played 568 minutes of football across the Premier League and EFL Cup without notching.
In all of those games, Newcastle managed one impressive, creditable draw against Liverpool. Beyond that, the Magpies have lost all the other games. In fact they’ve lost five straight since their point against the Reds, their form was abysmal and part of their problem was the lack of punch in attack. When your forwards pose no threat, your defence comes under incessant waves of pressure and that usually leads to one thing: conceding goals. Newcastle were never really blown away (Arsenal beat them 3-0 but that was about it) but they were never there.
Wilson played 90 minutes in all of those games, and yet nothing. Previously he had a very impressive 8 goals in 13 appearances and Newcastle had only lost four of those games with him on the field. After Christmas it all turned sour and that barren run included handing Sheffield United their first win of the season.
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At Goodison Park, however, Wilson appeared to be a man transformed. A physical and technical marvel who no combination of Everton defenders could get anywhere near. The no. 13 was reminiscent of Anfield-era Luis Suárez, a powerhouse with skill that carried his team. He pressed, he linked, he battled defenders to won fouls and he made runs in behind.
Newcastle responded to Wilson’s tone setting by putting in a display to match him. The defence was rigid and organised despite losing Jamal Lascelles to injury. The midfield was combative and through Jonjo Shelvey advanced the ball well to the attack where Ryan Fraser and Miguel Almiron were elusive presences between the lines.
Newcastle have won at Goodison Park for the first time since September 2010.
Callum Wilson's double helps end the nine game winless streak. pic.twitter.com/eRHPoOGn3R
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) January 30, 2021
Each man created 3 chances in the game, but it was Wilson who ended up the difference-maker. Although it looked like for all his great play he would end up frustrated. A lovely Newcastle attack led to an excellent cross from Fraser putting Wilson clean through on goal. All he had to do was slip a neat finish under or over Jordan Pickford but instead he skewed it wide.
For a striker who hadn’t scored in over 11 hours, that could have sent him into a spiral. But Wilson was in a different kind of mood today. And so later in the second-half when Jonjo Shelvey sent a corner into the area, Wilson struck.
Now, this goal was no ordinary header. Wilson was fully 12 yards from goal when he made contact with Shelvey’s corner, looping it off his head perfectly nestling into the far corner of the net far beyond the reach of Jordan Pickford. His 50th Premier League goal.
Wilson continued to go at Everton, hitting the post from a narrow angle after rounding the goalkeeper with consummate ease. And he finally did get his second late in the day when he picked up a cross from Jamal Lewis and lashed it low beyond the reach of Pickford.
Only five English players have scored 10+ goals in this season's Premier League:
◎ Harry Kane (12)
◎ Jamie Vardy (11)
◎ Dominic Calvert-Lewin (11)
◎ Patrick Bamford (10)
◉ Callum Wilson (10)
Into double figures for just the second PL season. pic.twitter.com/mNFwgUHyvQ
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) January 30, 2021
Those two goals meant that a whopping 67% of Newcastle’s goals in the Premier League have been scored or assisted by Wilson. That is a staggering number and shows their reliance on the striker and why performances like the one today are so important.
Wilson expressed disappointment with himself after the game, saying that he should have got a hat-trick. And while he’s right, this self-critical nature even in the wake of such a superb performance indicates that Wilson won’t now become smug and satisfied.
In fact it’s much more likely that we’re now going to see Callum Wilson enter a run of good form, and if he can do that and add to his 10 goals and 4 assists, then he can be the hero that lifts Newcastle United out of trouble and ensures their Premier League survival.