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Everton play Norwich City at Goodison Park: Match Preview

The Canaries come to Goodison with the Blues looking for their first win in five against them.

Clive Brunskill

Everton welcome Norwich City to Goodison Park this weekend with memories of the opening day draw still on the minds. Coming early on in the Roberto Martinez reign it was a little bit of a case of style over substance and a focal point to the attack was sorely lacking. The one thing that showed up early on was the potential of Ross Barkley and he duly opened his first team account in that game. On the opposite side, Ricky Van Wolfswinkel also opened his account for the season, and hasn't added to it since. What price a second goal for the Dutchman?

Team News

For the Blues we're looking at being without Phil Jagielka and Sylvain Distin again, with John Stones and Anton Alcaraz hopefully set to continue their fine form. Leighton Baines is close to returning and it wouldn't be a surprise to see him in the matchday squad, although Bryan Oviedo's great form means there's no need to rush Baines back. And Roberto Martinez confirmed in his pre-match press conference that Ross Barkley is a doubt and will have a fitness test before the game.

Norwich City may also be without their first choice centre back pairing with Michael Turner and Sebastien Bassong both doubtful. They also have doubts over former Leeds United midfield pair Johnny Howson and Bradley Johnson, while Wes Hoolahan may miss out after reportedly handing in a transfer request. Leroy Fer returns after suspension though.

Keys to the game

If Barkley is missing it would put more of an emphasis on Kevin Mirallas who has been showing signs of the start of a return to form in the last couple of weeks. with Gerard Deulofeu still on the sidelines it means Mirallas only hs Steven Naismith to challenge for a place and a player of the Belgian's skill should not be challenged by that. The wide positions are going to be key tomorrow. If Seamus Coleman and Baines/Oviedo can continue their good play it will also take one of Norwich's most dangerous players out, Nathan Redmond. His pace could cause issues unless we keep him on the defensive.
In central midfield the match up between Gareth Barry and Leroy Fer will be interesting to watch.

Match facts

Average age of both line-ups is likely to be 25.8 years old.

Norwich are more successful in aerial battles - 47% success to Everton's 39%

Everton haven't beaten Norwich since the Canaries return to the top flight, that's now five games.

Seamus Coleman has scored more goals than Gary Hooper and Ricky Van Wolkswinkel between them.

Everton have lost one of the last nineteen games at Goodison Park.