Bottom-placed club Norwich City host a troubled Everton side who are looking for their first win in the Premier League since the start of December.
Norwich City find themselves in a dire situation in the Premier League with nothing going their way. While the Canaries are still in with a shout to avoid relegation, the way things are going for them, it’s hard to argue that they are favourites for the drop.
The midweek loss to West Ham United was their sixth in a row, while Dean Smith’s men have failed to score in the Premier League since the end of November and remain without a win in eight games. These are not good numbers to help with their confidence in the fight for survival.
Norwich have a decent record against Everton, winning two of their last four encounters, although they have lost the previous two. All their good early work when Smith arrived is out of the window, and they now need points and a good build-up towards their clash with Watford later this month.
Meanwhile, Everton’s struggles on and off the pitch this season are well documented. Their tally of 19 points from 18 games puts them 15th in the Premier League. Despite having a few games in hand, the Toffees are just eight points clear of the relegation zone. Their recent battling draw against Chelsea was then undone by Brighton, who recorded a 3-2 victory.
Covid related issues have limited the number of games Everton have played in recent weeks, but the recent FA Cup third-round win over Hull City could boost their confidence ahead of this clash. Rafael Benitez’s side could see the contest against Norwich as a chance to get their Premier League campaign back on track.
Team News & Tactics
Dean Smith will have to make do without several of his first-team stars. Christoph Zimmermann, Lukas Rupp, Mathias Normann, Billy Gilmour and Andrew Omobamidele are all certain absentees for this clash. Meanwhile, Todd Cantwell, who sat out of the West Ham game with an illness, is back in contention for the clash.
Josh Sargent could be back in the team after missing the West Ham clash due to the birth of his child. He could be lining up on the right side of the attack. Dean Smith could tweak the formation a little from the usual 4-3-3 he has deployed since joining.
Adam Idah’s adaptation in the new No. 10 role has been good, as seen against West Ham, and Smith will be eager to play him in the position again. The manager could also bring back Ozan Kabak in central defence, with Ben Gibson likely to make way. The Turkish defender will partner Grant Hanley at the back.
The other change could be in central midfield as Jacob Sorensen could replace Pierre Lees-Melou. Milot Rashica is likely to start on the left side of the attack, while Teemu Pukki is best placed to lead the line.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Krul; Aarons, Kabak, Hanley, Giannoulis; Sorensen, McLean; Sargent, Idah, Rashica; Pukki
Rafael Benitez could take the opportunity to change his team’s shape a bit. After failing to rally the side into playing well in a more transitional formation, the Spaniard might experiment with a back three and wing-backs in this game.
There are several absentees to deal with, which is not expected to cause too much impact on the possible new formation. Tom Davies is ruled out with an injury, while Alex Iwobi is missing through his participation at the AFCON. Meanwhile, there are doubts over Richarlison, Yerry Mina, Fabian Delph and Jarrad Branthwaite.
There could be a first Premier League start for new arrival Vitaliy Mykolenko at left-wing-back, while Seamus Coleman could occupy the opposite flank. A back three of Michael Keane, Ben Godfrey, and Mason Holgate could line up ahead of goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.
Allan and Abdoulaye Doucoure could form the central midfield partnership. Anthony Gordon, Demarai Gray and Dominic Calvert-Lewin could be included in a new-look front three, considering Richarlison is out of the picture for a start in this game.
Probable Lineup (3-4-3): Pickford; Holgate, Keane, Godfrey; Coleman, Allan, Doucoure, Mykolenko; Gordon, Calvert-Lewin, Gray
- Norwich City have lost their last six matches in the Premier League.
- Norwich City have conceded at least two goals in each of their last four matches in the Premier League.
- Norwich City have not scored a single goal in the Premier League since the end of November.
- Everton have failed to win 11 of their last 12 matches in the Premier League.
- Everton have been losing both at half-time and full-time in five of their last seven Premier League matches.
Player To Watch
After missing much of the season due to fitness issues, Calvert-Lewin is looking to kickstart his campaign and help Everton out of their misery. The striker, who missed a penalty against Brighton, is yet to find his best form leading the line for the Merseyside outfit. The Toffees are not in a healthy position in the league table and need their talisman to help them with his goals. Against Norwich, the Englishman will have the opportunity to find some form and get his team out of the rut.
Norwich City 0-2 Everton
As both teams go through a difficult period of struggle, Everton have the chance to restore some confidence in their squad with a solid win. The Toffees are not expected to become prolific suddenly, but they certainly have the quality to collect all three points here.
Norwich have been abysmal in the league, particularly since the end of November, as they are yet to score a single goal in that period. Their struggles are set to continue against Everton as they will find it hard to break down this Toffees side. They are likely to suffer another defeat to further affirm their status as relegation favourites.