Date: 23rd November 2012 at 3:30pm
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Everton will be looking to bounce back following the disappointment of last weekend as they take on a Norwich side who will be on cloud nine at Goodison Park on Saturday. Everton suffered a bitterly disappointing 2-1 loss to Reading, a result that ended their 9 game losing streak and also dropped them out of the top 4. Norwich on the other hand had a massive 1-0 win over Manchester United, a result that saw them move up to 13th. Everton will not be able to get away with a similar performance than the one they put in during the 2nd half of last weekend with the Goodison crowd on their backs and they will be expecting a much better performance and the 3pts as they seek to regain the 4th spot which they succumbed to an impressive West Brom outfit.

Vital Quotes:

Everton midfielder Thomas Hitzlsperger urged the side to focus ahead of the Norwich game saying

“Personally I have been happy with the way things are going, apart from the result at Reading, I`m not happy with that, Norwich is a game that we have to win, especially after Saturday. It was so frustrating for us not to get the three points or at least one point. We have to focus on the game against Norwich, get three points and then we are back on track again. We can`t let our heads drop and say that it is bad. We have to lift ourselves again and look forward to the next game.”

Norwich gaffer Chris Hughton talked about ex-Everton keeper John Ruddy ahead of the trip to Goodison saying

‘He [Ruddy] will enjoy going back to Everton and will look for the opportunity to catch up with old friends. It is only a good day though if you get something from it. That is always pleasing for a goalkeeper and a back four but it is a real team effort. The back four have a group of players in front of them who are giving them good resistance.We will be severely tested but we are buoyed by the good spells we have had this season.’

Everton Team News:

Everton have a couple injury and suspension worries ahead of this match. Influential big man Marouane Fellaini will miss the Norwich match due to the Belgian picking up his 5th yellow last weekend. They will also be without club captain Phil Neville, as it was revealed last weekend that he needed knee surgery and will miss 6-8wks. In some good news for the club, the side could finally regain the services of Darron Gibson after he played 60mins for the reserve side last weekend and could be in line for a return to the starting XI after missing since the start of September. Hibbert is also edging closer to a return to the side following his calf injury. Mirallas is described as a 50-50 as he attempts to recover from a hamstring injury. And finally, striker Victor Anichebe is also listed as questionable for the match.

Possible Starting XI: Howard, Baines, Distin, Jagielka, Coleman, Gibson, Hitzlsperger, Pienaar, Naismith, Osman, Jelavic

Player to watch: Steven Pienaar

Since his return to Everton from Spurs, it is safe to say, for the larger part he has been outstanding, however, in the last few weeks, the the South African hasn’t been at his sparkling best, and it has reflected on the whole side as Everton, although sitting in 5th, haven’t been at their best. With Fellaini out, the large burden left with his absence will fall squarely onto Pienaar and his partnership with Baines on the left. The combination of Pienaar and Baines is the best partnership in the league, they have shredded sides single handedly and Everton will be hoping those two can do the same against Norwich on Saturday.

Norwich Team News:

Norwich are slightly better off than the hosts, however, there are a couple issues for the visitors ahead of the match. The major question mark is the fitness over centre back Michael Turner. Other than that, the only certain absentees for the Canaries will be youngster Harry Kane and defender Russell Martin, both through injuries.

Possible Starting XI: Ruddy, Garrido, Turner, Bassong, Whittaker, Tettey, Johnson, Snodgrass, Hoolahan, Pilkington, Holt

Player to watch: Grant Holt

Showed last season he can be a menace against Everton scoring a couple times against this Everton side. The major worry will be his physicality, especially if Moyes decides to go with Jagielka and Heitinga, who aren’t the strongest centre backs. I would assume that Everton would largely dominate the possession with Norwich sitting and absorbing the pressure, therefore it is vital the Everton defenders do not give the big man any space and more so no chances, because as he showed last season, he will stick a chance away if given the shot.

Match Facts & Stats

1. Prior to last weekend, Everton came back from conceding the 1st goal in the last 6 games to grab a draw or a win. Last weekend, they scored first and they ended up losing. their first in 9 matches and only their 2nd in the last 21 matches.

2. This will be Moyes’ 200th match as Everton manager at Goodison Park, of which he has 104 wins with only 46 defeats

3. This will be Leighton Baines’ 300th league start, of which, 150 have been for Everton

4. Last weekend was the first time in the club’s history that the starting XI had 11 full internationals playing.

Match Prediction:

Everton need to bounce back, they need to forget the Reading match and focus on a dangerous Canary side who will be full of confidence following their 1-0 win over United. Everton’s home form has been outstanding, think the last time they lost was back in March, and some of the performances during that time have been outstanding and the fans will be hoping to see the Everton side that started the season so emphatically. Fellaini will be a major loss, but with the possible returns of Gibson and Mirallas, it would serve as a massive boost for the side. Due to Everton playing at home, I will go for a 3-1 win to Everton. COYB!!! NEED TO GET THE 3PTS LADS!!!