Everton will look to record consecutive Premier League wins for the first time since April when they welcome bottom club Norwich City to Goodison Park on Saturday.
After their first away victory of the season last time out, a 2-1 triumph at Southampton, the Blues’ next test is the visit of the Canaries, who have taken just one point and scored twice in the seven league games since beating Manchester City in September.
Daniel Farke’s newly-promoted side have also conceded 28 goals - only the Saints have let in more - and come to Goodison Park four points adrift of safety.
Despite an EFL Cup win at Everton in September 2016, with former Toffee Steven Naismith scoring, their league record away at the Blues is abject, having not left there with three points since September 1993.
Ahead of Saturday’s game, we spoke to Alex Murray, Canaries fan and writer at Read Norwich:
RBM: Firstly, how much confidence do you have in Daniel Farke that he can lead Norwich out of the rut they’re currently in?
Alex: It’s a very tough ask, but last season’s heroics were enough that a lot of fans still have hope.
Farke has brought some of the best football ever seen in Norwich, but his defences have always been poor and the quality of the Premier League has really caught him out. However, sacking him would be the worst thing the club could possibly do.
RBM: Norwich have been hit by an injury crisis almost constantly since the start of the season. Is this an excuse for their poor form, or are there deeper problems than that?
Alex: Injury problems are a huge part of the problem. But, as you’ve hinted at there, there is a few other issues. We’ve practically been playing midfielders at centre-back all season, but this is something that could potentially be over when Norwich arrive at Goodison Park.
However, there are some other issues. Farke has never really been able to present a plan B, and that is something that is extremely obvious in the top flight. Alongside that, Norwich simply don’t have the quality that other teams like Sheffield United and Aston Villa have brought in over the summer.
RBM: No Premier League club spent less on signings this summer than Norwich (about £3 million). Do you applaud the faith shown in the squad who achieved promotion last season, or is under-investment costing them?
Alex: 100000% under-investment is costing us. We’re simply lacking quality in a lot of areas, such as midfielder and at centre-back.
We’re in a difficult situation, because we’re not really in a position to spend in January despite the huge amount of TV money coming in.
RBM: Similarly, Norwich’s defence is the second-worst in the league. Is this due more to personnel available to Farke, or a struggle on his part to organise his back line?
Alex: A bit of both again, really.
We struggled in the Championship, and it’s continued in the Premier League. Considering we have the same players, a lot of blame must go on them.
RBM: After five goals in as many games at the start of the season, Teemu Pukki hasn’t scored since. Has there been a difference in Norwich’s playing style lately which you think is causing his drought?
Alex: Pukki’s drought is showing of the entire team, really.
They do everything right apart from the act of actually putting it in the back of the net. We create a lot of chances, but nobody is seemingly taking them recently.
RBM: Norwich come to Goodison on Saturday having earned only one point on the road this season. Does Farke have to change his approach on their travels?
Alex: I think he simply has to, especially as we’ve only scored one goal away from home all season.
Whether it’s a formation change or a different team selection, Farke has to change something, because what he’s tried away from home so far simply hasn’t worked.
RBM: How do you expect Norwich to set up on Saturday?
Alex: (4-2-3-1) Krul; Aarons, Zimmermann, Godfrey, Lewis; Amadou, Leitner; Cantwell, Buendía, McLean; Pukki.
RBM: Which of Norwich’s players do you think could cause Everton the most problems?
Alex: Emi Buendía has been a bright spark of a relatively poor season so far. He leads the club in assists and chances created, and is a real creative spark in the midfield.
If he can get back to his best shown last season, he could fire Norwich to survival.
RBM: Finally, what’s your prediction for Saturday’s game?
Alex: 1-1 draw.
Our thanks to Alex for his time.