Norwich City V Everton
Well its that time of year again, the start of the Premier League season. Everton face a very tough trip to a resurgent Norwich City, who look like they have pulled a blinder in the transfer window. Chris Hughton has added Everton targets Leroy Fer and Nathan Redmond to the exciting signings of Van Wolfswinkel and Gary Hooper. They have also signed Javier Garrido to a full contract, Martin Olssen from Blackburn and Everton old boy Carlo Nash as a back-up keeper. Looking from an outsider point of view, Norwich have probably done the best out of all the teams looking at it on paper and I expect a very tough match. Luckily for the blues Leroy Fer can’t haunt us as he is suspended and Gary Hooper and Bassong don’t look like they will be fit.
Everton’s Darron Gibson probably won’t be fit after suffering ligament damage.
Obviously it’s the first match of the season, so I may be out massively on the starting 11’s, so I apologise if I am.
No illusions, this will be a tough match.
Likely players missing:
Hooper, Bassong, Fer – Norwich
Gibson – Everton
Head to Head:
The Ex-Everton stopper was signed as a highly rated teenager from Cambridge and never really had a chance at Everton. Since signing for Norwich City for around £400k, Ruddy has excelled and made his way by merit into the England team. He is still young in keeping terms and still has a bit to learn, but a bid by Chelsea would have helped his confidence.
The Everton goalkeeper is coming under pressure finally from the emerging Spaniard Joel Robles, but as always the American is answering his critics with a strong preseason campaign. Howard is the man that can pull off worldy saves one minute and drop a howler a minute later. His saves far outweight his mistakes though and in my own personal opinion he is an excellent keeper.
Ruddy 7 Howard 8
Ruddy has excelled after leaving Everton
Whittaker had an injury hit first season with the canaries and will be a bit of an unknown to many Premier League fans. I can’t say too much about him myself, but the lad made 300 appearances in Scotland with Hearts and Rangers, so he has a bit of pedigree.
Coleman was arguably one of the most important players to the Everton team last season, he really came of age. Considering he didn’t take up full time football until the age of 18, you would be forgiven in thinking Coleman may be a bit pants. You would be wrong, but I’ll forgive you. Coleman had a fantastic season and is growing into a brilliant wing back. He is a gem and this could be his year to really push on into a Premier League star.
Whittaker 7 Coleman 8
Turner is an old fashioned English centre half in the Michael Dawson mould. No holds barred. He is actually a fairly decent player who will definitely shore up the Norwich defence. It took him a while to get his Norwich career going, but he had a strong end to the season after getting fully fit.
Jagielka is a bit like Turner in the fact that he is an old fashioned centre half. Jagielka is now the Everton captain and after a below par season (by his standards) Jags will no doubt go all out looking to control the team and the Everton defence. He is still an excellent player and hopefully the Martinez reign won’t change that.
Turner 7.5 Jagielka 8
Martin is a no nonsense defender, he is the Norwich captain and a Scottish international. With a partner like Turner you know you are going to be in for some bumps and bruises when you face these two and I’m sure England will find that out tonight too.
Distin is like a machine, he is 36 and shows no signs of letting up. Still one of the fastest in the Everton team. His new nickname is the Milkman following newspaper revelations, but could this season be the final of his round? Surely father time will catch up at some point?
Martin 7 Distin 7.5
Olsson is like a poor mans Leighton Baines. I don’t mean that in a derogatory way, that isn’t a bad thing as Baines is excellent. Olsson is a very good Premier League left back, he likes to get forward and did really well for Blackburn in stages. He could prove to be a decent signing for £2.5m.
Baines hasn’t yet been tempted by the advances of Manchester United and every Everton fans will be rejoicing at that. Baines was the player that created more key passes than any player in Europe last season and quite rightly Everton fans will want to keep hold of their best player.
Olsson 8 Baines 9
Snodgrass is a very underrated player and looks to be a very good signing for Norwich. I think Neil Warnock stated that if Leeds had kept Snodgrass they would have got promoted.
Mirallas is our secret weapon. The player Everton fans have been yearning for, for ages. Dynamic, fast, skillful and a great finisher, keep him fit and we have a superstar. This could be a big season for Super Kev, this could be an even bigger season for Premier League defences.
Snodgrass 8.5 Mirallas 8.5
Speaking of throwbacks we come to Bradley Johnson. Here is a player that likes to get his foot in. His job is to stop the opposition and he does it well. Much like a Scott Parker type player. His job will be to disrupt the Everton midfield, if he does that we may struggle.
Another that looks to be off to Manchester United, where he certainly wouldn’t look out of place. With his mind in the right place, Fellaini will dominate this midfield. If his head is turned a little he may stink the place out. I’m hoping all the speculation isn’t affecting the big Belgian.
Johnson 7.5 Fellaini 9
Redmond has the world at his feet and Norwich bought a Bargain from a club desperate to sell. Redmond is a player I wish Martinez had signed. He is tricky and looks like he has the right brain to go with it. He could cause us no end of problems this weekend.
Ossie could suit the Martinez regime, he is a tricky player and a workhorse. He is coming to the end of his career, so could be phased out this season, but I expect him to start this game. He is still a good player, but I feel his game was suppressed under David Moyes. We shall see if Martinez lets him play his game.
Redmond 8.5 Osman 7
Redmond will prove a tricky customer
The Irishman is a bit marmite amongst the Norwich fans. On his day he is mercurial, but on other days he tries too much and it doesn’t come off. Personally I’m a fan and he could be a big thorn in our side as he is quite tricky to pick up.
Pienaar will probably play more central this year and that is where I prefer him. He is still a very good player and like Osman is a bit of a workhorse. I am still a massive fan and this year I expect Pienaar to see a lot more of the ball.
Hoolahan 8 Pienaar 8
Ricky Van Wolfswinkel
RVW could be quite a coup for Norwich, they signed him early on the back of some strong scoring seasons in Holland and Portugal and the lad came with a growing reputation. The Premier League is a different kettle of fish, but RVW could still be a great player. A Holland international it costs around £13 extra to get his name on his shirt.
Has there ever been a Premier League striker that has gone through as big a confidence shift as Jelavic. He came in and scored a ton of goals after signing a year ago in January and then last season stunk the place out. Rumours of unhappiness at his contract and Martinez wanting rid aren’t going away, but after a really promising preseason it looks like Jelavic could suit the Martinez era. If he can carry on where he left off in preseason, Everton fans could get back on the side of the underperforming Croat.
Van Wolfswinkel 9 Jelavic 8
Feed the wolf and he will score
Norwich 78 – Everton 81
On paper Everton have the slightly better team and recent league finishes will show that, but don’t underestimate Norwich who have brought in some very good signings and will be on a high from that. Everton are under a new manager and a potential new formation may not have jelled yet so a shock could be on the cards.
Don’t agree with my assessment? Have your say at www.theevertonforum.com