After Sunday’s battling goalless home draw with Liverpool, the Blues will now look to avenge November’s galling defeat to Norwich at Goodison Park in the final weeks of Marco Silva.
That victory remains Norwich’s only away win in the Premier League this term, as they sit bottom of the table, six points adrift of safety with eight games to play.
Daniel Farke’s side suffered a 3-0 home defeat to Southampton in their first game back in action on Friday, as an immediate return to the Championship grows ever likelier.
Ahead of Wednesday’s game, we spoke to Norwich fan Alex Murray about what to expect from the struggling Canaries:
RBM: Firstly, what did you learn from Norwich’s return to action in their 3-0 loss to Southampton?
Alex: That football is a terrible, terrible sport. Sigh…
Well, ignoring the pain and suffering, it was very much apparent that not much has changed since March from Norwich’s viewpoint. The tactics are practically the same, minus the formation change and Norwich are still trying the attacking approach that has hindered them massively this season.
RBM: Both of these sides have already played a behind-closed-doors match at their own ground since the Premier League’s return. How much did you think the absence of a home crowd hampered Norwich against Southampton?
Alex: It was massive, to be honest. The home form has been massive for Norwich this season, and the home support has been a massive factor in that. Victories over Manchester City and Leicester happened thanks to a big contribution from the supporters.
I’m not a huge fan of ‘passion’ being a thing that can be measured, but the dullness of our defeat to Southampton showed the disadvantage we had.
RBM: How do you think Norwich and Daniel Farke need to change their approach to ensure that result isn’t replicated against Everton?
Alex: It was so obvious how open we were to attack against in the defeat to Southampton. Some of the attacks the Saints were allowed was simply atrocious, especially with our wing-backs so far forward.
But it’s pointless suggesting anything, because Farke is stubborn, and we won’t change.
RBM: Norwich are the league’s lowest scorers, with only 25 goals from 30 games. Is it as simple as saying that Everton only need to keep top scorer Teemu Pukki quiet and they’ll have won half of the battle already?
Alex: It’s something that a decent chunk of the league have already done so far this season, but you might not even have to. Compared to his breakout season in the Championship, the Finn has seemingly lost his scoring touch.
He’s taking extra touches and hitting way too many shots straight at the keeper. If Norwich are to have any chance of staying up, he needs to start turning up, but based on previous form this seems to be a tough ask.
RBM: Norwich were superb in their 2-0 win at Goodison in November, and some have called them the ‘best bottom club in Premier League history’. Have they simply been unlucky for most of this season, or does that performance feel more like a one-off?
Alex: Farke was betrayed in the summer window, basically. We made some questionable signings, alongside simply not bringing in any quality. Three of the signings we made aren’t even at the club anymore, which is damning for the club’s recruitment team.
We have been unlucky on a number of occasions, but simply not adding to the squad who came up is a big factor as to why Farke has failed in the Premier League.
RBM: Given Norwich have mainly stuck with the side that won promotion last year and only invested about £3-4 million in their squad, do you at least feel they should be well-equipped to come straight back up if they are relegated this season?
Alex: We’ve already made a couple of signings ahead of next season, including the highly tipped Sam McCallum, and Luxembourg midfielder Danel Sinani, who has impressed for F91 Dudelange in the Europa League.
Depending on how many players depart, with teams seemingly after Max Aarons and Emiliano Buendía, I believe Norwich have a fair shot of coming straight back up.
RBM: How do you expect Norwich to set up on Wednesday?
Alex: I expect Norwich to return to a familiar 4-2-3-1 for the visit of Everton.
Krul, Aarons, Klose, Godfrey, Lewis, Tettey, McLean, Buendía, Duda, Cantwell, Pukki.
RBM: Which of Norwich’s players do you think could cause Everton the most problems?
Alex: Buendía is a phenomenal talent, whose game has been stifled by Norwich’s poor play this season. He will surely go on to better things, but if he’s used correctly, could be hugely damaging against Everton.
RBM: Finally, what’s your prediction for Wednesday’s game?
Alex: Based off how poor the Southampton game was, 0-0.
Our thanks to Alex for his time.