Saturday, November 24, 2012
Norwich City’s recent unbeaten Premier League run owes plenty to a fantastic collective work ethic and a precision in their counter-attacking movements.
Beating Manchester United and the manner of that win, following on from an equally tough assignment against Stoke, underlined Chris Hughton’s disciplined philosophy can flourish against the biggest and the best as well as the less refined the division has to offer.
David Moyes has built a squad at Everton that melds all those attributes. Technically-gifted ball players like Steven Pienaar and the excellent Leon Osman, who did more than anyone to drag the Toffees back into the corresponding fixture last season, co-exist in perfect harmony with the more dogged physicality of men like Steven Naismith, Seamus Coleman and Jonny Heitinga. Cast a glance across a Moyes starting line-up and you will struggle to detect any trace of weakness. From back to front and all points in between they have proven Premier League performers.
You get anything against Everton, you have earned it; more so, at Goodison Park where they are unbeaten in the Premier League this season. Moyes will be irritated by the penchant to draw too many games, four of their last six in the league, and a defeat at Reading in a game they dominated for long spells will have further raised the Glaswegian’s hackles. City are well capable of inducing fresh frustration, allied to Marouane Fellaini’s absence through suspension. Everton’s squad does not contain the depth of the cash-rich elite they periodically try and gatecrash each season on smaller resources.
Given Norwich’s impeccable form of late, only the outcome of Michael Turner’s fitness battle is likely to trigger a change in starting personnel. Leon Barnett, who played the full 90 minutes in a midweek development game against Arsenal, or Ryan Bennett would expect to be in the frame to partner Sebastien Bassong.
• Everton 1, Norwich City 1