Five games into the new campaign and Norwich City remain the only club without a single point, let alone a win. Whilst boos rang around the stadium after the recent 3-1 loss to Watford, their early-season fixtures have been against some of the very best in the country, if not, in Europe.
As for Everton, the blue half of Liverpool have had a mixed start to the campaign themselves. The midweek exit from the Carabao Cup came as a shock as Rafa Benitez’s side lost 8-7 on penalties to Championship club QPR. Before the latest week of fixtures, Everton had started the season undefeated, however, a 3-0 loss on the road to Aston Villa has somewhat soured the sweet taste for success, for the Merseyside club.
An underwhelming start to the season means that Norwich City currently undergoes a 15 game run of consecutive Premier League defeats, spanning back to their previous venture into England’s topflight during the 2019/20 season.
Results of this nature were expected before the recent defeat to Watford, but Farke and his men have suffered immense pressure and criticism given the type of performance that was displayed at Carrow Road against their fellow relegation rivals.
Criticised for their defensive positioning, ability to read the game, and lack of awareness, The Canaries were punished by an Emmanuel Dennis header, and a brace from Ismaïla Sarr to face a fifth straight defeat to begin the new Premier League campaign.
Followed by a 3-0 defeat in the midweek Carabao Cup tie with a second-strength Liverpool side, pressure continues to mount for Farke and his players. In the attempts to strengthen in the defensive areas, debuts were recently dished out to new signings Ozan Kabak, and Matthias Normann – to add quality and depth. Whilst their debuts came in recent concerning results, fans will expect performances to improve as the side begins to understand each other’s style of play, gelling to the manager’s tactical approach.
The start to the season has seen Farke utilise a three at the back formation, as well as, a four at the back defensive shape. Meaning that players have had to adapt to the requirements set when playing in extremely different defensive setups. In the hope of being able to turn the tide, to kickstart their season, players will need to be provided with a level of tactical consistency, if they are to be able to better fulfil the manager's expectations on the pitch.
Whilst the defense currently faces a level of condemnation, the club have additionally struggled in front of goal, scoring two goals in the opening five games. Both goals netted by Teemu Pukki, with one coming from the penalty spot, disappointment surrounds Carrow Park given the club’s struggles to score. In a summer where the likes of Milot Rashica, Josh Sargent, and Christos Tzolis all entered the attacking fray, the uphill battle that was the early season fixtures has delayed their chances to add to the club's goalscoring quality.
As the upcoming fixtures continue to settle down for Norwich City, there becomes a great opportunity to get their campaign underway with a vital three points on the line in the upcoming away trip to Everton.
The hosts for the weekend fixture currently sit in 6th position. Recording a start with three wins, a single draw, and one defeat, The Toffees will hope to return to winning ways after last week's demolition, at the hands of Aston Villa.
Everton come into the tie without talisman Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison, with the pair missing the loss to Aston Villa, their lack of presence was felt as Everton managed to register just the one shot on target.
Whilst Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison remain a key miss for the side, fans have been pleasantly surprised with the goalscoring form of winger, and new signing Demarai Gray – who has started the season with three goals.
In an exciting start to the season, the club have conceded the joint-most number of goals out of any of the top ten sides in the league. Leaking seven goals in the opening five games, Benitez’s side match West Ham and Aston Villa, however, the blues have scored 10 goals to kickstart the campaign, a number that is only one less than Premier League reigning champions Manchester City, and two behind the likes of Liverpool and Chelsea.
Goals for Everton have been easy to come by, averaging 2.00 goals per game, however, their shot accuracy raises a few eyebrows. Registering 70 shows in the first five games, only 26 of them have landed on target.
Where this Game Could be Won or Lost?
In addition to the concerns surrounding their shot accuracy, The Toffees have recorded a pass accuracy of 72%, this is compared to Norwich’s 81%. Where the two clubs sit in polar opposite ends of the table, Norwich have registered 80 passes per game more than their weekend counterparts.
Possession may become a crucial factor in this game. Where Everton have been exposed in defense, Norwich’s desire to retain the ball may allow valuable chances to be created, in order to punish what has been a vulnerable backline.
Norwich’s poor start to the season highlighted their struggles with aerial duals. Allowing Dennis, of Watford, and Divock Origi in the Carabao Cup, to both capitalise in the air during the most recent games. Therefore, an opportunity could be presented for Calvert-Lewin’s replacement, and prolific big-man Salomón Rondón to mark his first goal for the club, since moving to Merseyside from Chinese outfit Dailan Professional.
Last Five Meetings:
24th January 2020: Norwich City 0-1 Everton
23rd November 2019: Everton 0 vs 2 Norwich
20th September 2016: Everton 0-2 Norwich City
15th May 2016: Everton 3-0 Norwich City
12th December 2015: Norwich City 1-1 Everton