With only goal difference keeping them outside of the bottom three, Norwich City need a result at home to mid-table Everton in order to move into an extremely tough run of festive fixtures with confidence.
Manager Alex Neil is certainly looking for a response from his players after their desperately below-par showing at Watford last time out in a match which left few doubting which of the two clubs appeared the more likely to stay up this season following promotion from the second tier. There was very little in it until the returning Alexander Tettey gave the ball away a dangerous area and conceded the penalty from which their opponents would not look back.
From then on the Canaries defence fell apart and made numerous elementary mistakes, and that they only let in a second goal in stoppage time at the end came as a real surprise. Yet a week earlier they managed to show just how well they are capable of playing in almost overcoming Arsenal at Carrow Road, so Neil will be calling on his side to rediscover that kind of form. If not, they could find themselves in a perilous position in the table when the weekend is over.
Everton have looked very strong going forward of late, but would be higher up the table and closer to the top four if they could put a run of wins together, as too many draws are halting their progress. With a striker in the kind of form that Romelu Lukaku is at present and Gerard Deulofeu unleashing all of his party tricks, there is no reason why they can push on in the coming weeks. They will feel confident ahead of this one when they pore over Norwich’s defensive record.
There was no shortage of effort from the Merseyside club on Monday evening at home to Crystal Palace, but some strong defending kept them at bay for long spells and for a few minutes it looked at though they could fall to a sucker punch after going behind with less than a quarter of an hour left. However, they showed great resolve to come back and pick up what could be a valuable point, and this begins a run of matches where they will expect to claim a respectable haul of points.
John Ruddy may return in goal for Norwich in place of Declan Rudd. On-loan winger Matt Jarvis is still out, but Wes Hoolahan has recovered from a knee problem.
The visitors may give a first start of the season to Leighton Baines, but are likely to still be without James McCarthy, who has missed the last two games through injury.
Last Meeting: All the goals were in the second half as Norwich prevented Roberto Martinez from winning his first game in charge of the visitors, with Ricky van Wolfswinkel rescuing a point on his debut. The Dutchman’s fine header turned out to be his only goal of the season, after Ross Barkley and Seamus Coleman had turned the game on its head for Everton. The hosts had taken the lead through Steven Whitaker.
Played for both – Joseph Yobo: One of the Premier League’s most underrated defenders, Yobo was a crucial player for almost the entirety of his nine-year spell at Everton, helping them finish in the top four in 2005. Overall for the club he made 196 appearances in the league and scored eight goals. He went on to have a loan spell with Norwich in 2014, turning out eight times.