Premier League Preview: Everton v Norwich City
By Football News
Everton will try to maintain their fine home form when hosting Norwich City in the Premier League on Saturday.
Roberto Martinez's side have taken 21 points from 10 home games this season, their highest return since the 2004-05 campaign, with only bottom club Sunderland able to claim victory when visiting Goodison Park.
That form has helped lift Everton to fifth in the Premier League, just one point behind city rivals Liverpool, who occupy the final UEFA Champions League place.
Norwich, meanwhile, have not won at Goodison since 1993 and are looking to end a run of five league games without a victory.
However, the visitors' five-match unbeaten run against Everton may offer them some cause for optimism – even if four of those fixtures have ended in draws.
The two sides met on the opening day of the season, when Ricky van Wolfswinkel's 71st-minute equaliser earned Norwich a point in a 2-2 draw at Carrow Road.
Their fortunes since then have been markedly different; Everton have won 10 and only lost two games in the following 19, while Norwich have lost 10 and won five, leaving them just three points above the relegation zone.
Despite Norwich's poor campaign Martinez expects a tough encounter, and knows his team will have to be at their fluent best to record a seventh home league win of the season.
"Norwich aren't a team who are going to surprise us at all – we know they're very, very well drilled," he said.
"First and foremost you need to highlight they have incredible character.
"They've gone through highs and lows but they're always competitive. They've played together for a long time.
"Chris Hughton is experienced and gets his side organised; they're difficult to break down."
The Spaniard has injury concerns over Ross Barkley (toe) ahead of the game, while Sylvain Distin, Phil Jagielka and Leighton Baines will have fitness tests before the match.
Norwich are boosted by the return of Sebastien Bassong, Bradley Johnson and Wes Hoolahan but look set to be without Alex Tettey (ankle), Michael Turner (hamstring), Johnny Howson (back) and Anthony Pilkington (hamstring).