Everton v Norwich City – Match Preview

Everton will be desperate to avoid a third consecutive defeat against Norwich at Goodison Park on Saturday following their narrow defeat at Arsenal last week.

The Toffee’s were narrowly beaten at the Emirates Stadium with Robin Van Persie’s spectacular volley proving to be the difference between them and the Gunners. It was a similar story two weeks ago against Stoke with David Moyes’ side going losing by a goal to nil once again. Both defeats highlighted the their bluntness in front of goal with Louis Saha and Tim Cahill once again failing to find the net. The latter is fast approaching a year without a goal and appears to have lost his prowess in the penalty area. Moyes needs to get his side becoming sharper in and around the 18-yard box especially at home where they’ve scored seven times in as many games. Their form at Goodison Park is another worry with Everton supporters celebrating only two victories and being forced to witness four defeats on their own turf. Consistency has been an on-going issue for the club with Moyes having to tinker with his paper-thin squad on a regular basis due to injuries and suspensions. The Scot will be hoping to name the same starting eleven that performed so admirably in West London last week and get back to winning ways against a Norwich side who aren’t the best on their travels.

Paul Lamberts side have won just once on the road this season but will travel to the blue half of Merseyside in high spirits following their 4-2 win over Newcastle. That success saw the Canaries back into the top half of the table and further cemented their impressive start to life back in the top flight following their promotion. Credit should go to Lambert for guiding his side to two successive promotions and building a squad capable of holding it’s own in England’s top division. He exhibited his tactical nous last Saturday against the injury ridden Magpies opting to start with Grant Holt and Steve Morison up front with the brutish pair causing havoc all afternoon and providing three of Norwich’s four goals. A similar performance will be expected against Everton this week with their form away from Carrow Road bearing just one win from seven games. Emerging victorious from Goodison Park won’t be an easy task and Lambert will need to conjure up another tactical masterstroke if his side are going to make if back to back wins for the first time since September.

Everton – 12th

Last Five: Lost 1-0 v Arsenal (A)Lost 1-0 v Stoke (H), Won 2-0 v Bolton (A), Won 2-1 v Wolves (H), Lost 2-1 v Newcastle (A)

Potential Starting X11: 24. T. Howard 2. T. Hibbert 5. J. Heitinga 6. P. Jagielka* [C] 3. L. Baines 23. S. Coleman 18. P. Neville 25. M. Fellaini 17. T. Cahill 7. D Bilyaletdinov  8. L. Saha

Injury News: Everton are missing key players Royston Drenthe, Leon Osman and Jack Rodwell on Saturday

Key Player: Phil Jagielka

Despite putting in yet another rock solid display at the back for the Toffes at Arsenal Jagielka was once again on the losing side. His presence in the back four is vital for Everton and his strength in the air will be put to the test on Saturday against the physical pairing of Holt and Morison

Match Fact: Everton have won their last three against Norwich in the Premier League with their last encounter coming in February 2005.

Norwich City – 1oth

Last Five: Won 4-2 v Newcastle (H), Lost 5-1 v Manchester City (A), Won 2-1 v QPR (H), Lost 2-1 v Arsenal (H), Lost 3-2 v Aston Villa (A)

Potential Starting X11: 1. J. Ruddy 23. M. Tierney 20. L. Barnett 2. R. Martin [C] 25. K. Naughton 7. L. Crofts 4. B. Johnson 11. A. Surman 12. A. Pilkington 14. W. Hoolahan 5. S. Morison*

Injury News: Norwich will be without on-loan Richie De Laet whilst James Vaughan and Daniel Ayala remain sidelines.

Key Player: Steve Morison

Another goal for the Welsh striker last weekend was just rewards for another imperious display for the Canaries. Newcastle just couldn’t handle Morison has he used his physical stature to bully the makeshift back four into submission with his unselfish running and pressurising key to Norwich’s victory last week. His aerial duel with Jagielka will be one to watch.

Match Fact: Norwich haven’t beaten Everton at Goodison Park since Efan Ekoku scored four times in a 5-1 win back in September 1993 with a young Chris Sutton bagging the other.

Last time at Goodison Park

Premier League 1 February 2011

Everton 1-0 Norwich

Ferguson (78)

Attendance: 37,485

PREDICTION

Everton have had an up and down season so far whilst Norwich have started the campaign in style and hold a top ten position going into Christmas. The Toffee’s have problems scoring goals whilst the Canaries have issues at the other end and have yet to keep a clean sheet in the Premier League and could be the week Moyes’ boys finally rediscover their scoring touch.

Score: 2-0