It was hardly a surprise to see Newcastle splash the cash in January as they endeavour to drag themselves away from the dotted line, but the signing of one particular Brazilian lynchpin headlined the Magpies’ winter business during the last knockings of the window.
Despite persistent links with Champions League-chasing Arsenal, Bruno Guimaraes made the move to Tyneside from Lyon in a real statement from intent from Newcastle, who have also bolstered their defensive ranks with the signings of Dan Burn and Matt Targett.
Eddie Howe would have ideally wanted to boost his attacking ranks further after welcoming Chris Wood to the club, but they may not need to worry if Jonjo Shelvey continues to make the net ripple, as the midfielder’s free kick sunk Leeds to hand Newcastle just their second win of the league season on January 22.
The Magpies still have plenty of work to do if they are to avoid a humiliating demotion to the Championship, but Howe’s 19th-placed crop are now just one point below Norwich City with a game in hand, so the new arrivals cannot make an impact quickly enough.
Seemingly out of nowhere, Newcastle have now strung together a three-game unbeaten run in the Premier League, and Howe will hope to see his defensive additions rectify their defensive home woes, with 23 goals shipped the second-worst record on familiar territory this term.
The new arrivals for Everton in Donny van de Beek and Dele Alli would not take centre stage in the FA Cup due to their ineligibility, but the new manager bounce would be in full effect for the Toffees as they saw off Brentford with aplomb.
Richarlison, Yerry Mina, Mason Holgate and Andros Townsend were all on target as Lampard enjoyed a near perfect start to life in the Goodison Park dugout, and Lord knows how much Everton needed a dominant performance to boost their depleted confidence.
Ending a three-game losing run in the Premier League is the next task at hand for Lampard, who takes the reins with Everton languishing in 16th place in the table – only four points clear of the drop zone but with games in hand on the teams around them.
It would be equally unthinkable for the Goodison Park outfit to drop down to the second tier of English football, but only Newcastle and Burnley have performed worse on the road than the Toffees this season, with their only win away from home coming against Brighton & Hove Albion back in August.
Newcastle did march to back-to-back wins over Everton during the 2020-21 season, with the Magpies prevailing 2-1 at St James’ Park before a more comfortable 2-0 success at Goodison Park 13 months ago.