Following three straight stalemates in the Premier League, Norwich may feel the need to return to winning ways and break away from the bottom three. On the other hand, this could be Everton’s last chance to return to the top 4 race, with the Toffees now six points behind fourth-placed Tottenham.
Norwich improving at the back
Seven game into the new league campaign and Norwich were sitting in the relegation zone with just three points to their tally, with second-season syndrome hanging over their heads. The Canaries then showed a massive improvement to embark on a 10-match unbeaten run (W6 D4), before starting a new poor run of results. The latest series has seen them fail to win any of their last nine league fixtures, although goalless draws against QPR and Fulham were obviously seen as signs of improvement. After keeping two clean sheets, the back line will have to remain focused when facing a very good Everton side, and we can certainly expect another cautious approach from boss Chris Hughton. With the players clearly low on confidence at the moment, they might not be ready to go all guns blazing at Everton, which should make for a tight game.
Grant Holt and John Ruddy continue to miss out, whilst Anthony Pilkington is doubtful with a hamstring injury.
Very important match for Everton
As much as Everton have been impressive this season, their hopes of securing European football will go up in smoke unless the Toffees can make a strong finish to the league campaign. Just one win in last five league games have seen David Moyes’ side slip to sixth place in the standings, but what is even more worrying is they are no less than six points behind fourth-placed Tottenham at the moment. Everton could do little to avoid a defeat at Old Trafford in the league, while they missed the opportunity to beat Oldham in the FA Cup, with the replay set to be played on Tuesday. Nevertheless, nobody at the club will be thinking about that game until after the Norwich match, but winning at Carrow Road might prove to be a difficult task now that the Canaries are showing a lot of improvement at the back.
Kevin Mirallas looks set to start after recovering from a hamstring problem, while Seamus Coleman could return into contention. Victor Anichebe is struggling with a groin injury.
There will be lot at stake when the two sides meet at Carrow Road, which should make for a nervy affair, with chances few and far between. With both sides pretty strong at the back, I certainly wouldn’t be surprised if one goal decides the winner.
Top pick: Under 2.5 goals 1.90 (9/10) @ Stan James
Alternative pick 1: Draw at half-time 2.20 (6/5) @ bet365
Alternative pick 2: Draw 3.50 (5/2) @ BetFred
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