• Whilst Hoolahan provides moments of impish brilliance from open play, his fellow creator Robert Snodgrass has a bit more end product particularly from corners and set plays. As the video of the goals conceded at Carrow Road (below) last season testifies, the left footed schemer is adept at picking out his man, usually looking to whip in deep deliveries to the back post. He also scored the most goals from direct free kicks in the Premier League last season.
• Last season the Canaries took four points of us and with our change in management – combined with their whopping summer outlay on players who didn’t seem to interest many other clubs – they will fancy their chances here . Claimed 70% of their points at home and particularly good against better sides who will come at them – they picked up more points over the top sides than the crud sides at home including wins over Man Utd & Arsenal without conceding.
• Offensively weak last season with a powder puff strike force which has rightly been restructured in the close season. Whilst very strong in terms of defensive shape they are prone to being webbed against sides with good movement in between the lines. The RS and the racist for example put 10 goals past them in their two games last season. Martin and Turner in particular are suspect to decent movement and pace.
• Their key strength last season was defensive shape, two banks of four with limited pressure on the ball so as to not compromise this shape. On the ball they don’t get massive amounts of bodies forward and have been reliant on set plays for goals.
• Last season Hughton lined up with Becchio and Holt up front against us in a 4-4-2 at home, and 4-4-1-1 away. Norwich had more joy when Kamara replaced Becchio and the aerial bombardment ensued. Both Kamara and Holt have since left the club so the aerial threat that hurt us has gone. Usually the default system will be 4-4-1-1- with Hoolahan ‘in the hole’.
• In terms of injuries, key man Bassong could start despite little pre season game time due to injury problems. If unfit, Bennett should come in or Martin will move across and Whittaker will come in. Usual left winger Pilkington is also out and will be replaced by either Redmond or the more defensive Olsson.
Likely Lineup Appraisal (4-4-1-1)
John Ruddy– Decent shot stopper who was given little opportunity under Moyes but who has carved out a decent career since leaving L4. Very good at coming for crosses and has a decent hoof on him. Will look to kick long to the forwards, often inaccurate but with the focus being to pick up the second balls.
Russell Martin – Operated high up the pitch last time and was instrumental in the winning goal. His 27 passing combinations with Snodgrass was comfortably the most from any duo in the home side. Can be got at quite easily and our away goal last season came from a cross down his flank after good interplay between Fellaini and Baines. Could also play at centre back if required.
Javier Garrido – Ex Man City left back who rarely crossed the half way line last time despite usually being the Canaries most creative defender. Predominantly looked to play the ball infield to the CM”s to switch play to Snodgrass in behind Baines. A weak link in the air.
Paul McShane’s Weak Link: Michael Turner
Granite faced simpleton who has lost many a brain cell from repeated heading of the ball and will be a danger in our box if we let him. Is very slow in turning, so get Mirallas into one v one situations and he will crumble. Was particularly culpable and repeatedly exposed by the racist in the serial RS tonkings last season and also made the most defensive errors in the Canaries backline last season.
Sebastien Bassong – Norwich’s chief aerial threat and a key player. Former toffee target and like Turner is a danger in our box and scored the equaliser at last season, and should have already had one in the first half from a corner. Won a higher percentage of his personal duels than any Norwich defender last season. Played hardly any pre season and is ‘touch and go’ for this fixture.
Bradley Johnson – Midfield wind up merchant who successfully rattled Fellaini’s brittle cage last time out. Will be the main receiver in the Norwich midfield but has limited ability on the ball and will instead keep things simple and distribute square passes to the flanks. Hallmarks of the old school hatchet man and is rash in the tackle when players run at him with speed. Credit must be given to him for his Joey Barton slur.
Alex Tettey – More brains than Bradley Johnson – which doesn’t say much – and a significantly better range of passing. Will play on the right of centre and look to feed Snodgrass. Also decent engine and can intercept play well although in general he is emphatically average. A likely starter in the absence of suspended Leroy ‘knee problem’ Fer. Another ex Leeds man Jonny Howson is a much better option and did finish the season alongside Johnson, however Tettey started the last warm up game against PAOK so could get the nod ahead of him.
Martin Olsson – Swedish left back signed from Blackburn who can also ‘do a job’ in midfield. If chasing the game expect Redmond to come on in his place and the ex Brum winger is an altogether different shaped potato. Equally speedy but with a raft of silky skills and a powerful shot from long range on either foot but particularly his right. Less adept positionally and can be caught out more than Olsson.
Wes Hoolahan – Last time lined up on the left of midfield but can also play through the middle as a number ten. Has trickery, incisive passing and good spatial awareness but similar to Osman doesn’t have the pace to evade players and also has a fairly sorry goals return for someone who plays so advanced. Should play ‘in the hole’ for this one.
Will look to play high up the pitch in behind Baines, often as Norwich’s furthest forward player. Great delivery from open play and set plays. Will look to beat his man and adept at winning free kicks. Much weaker on his right foot where he will play a more conservative pass inside and doesn’t provide much protection to his full back. The key danger.
Ricky Van Wolfswinkel – Right footed, fox in the box type player who is very good at one touch finishes, and will look to get in front of his defender and slot first time from crossing situations. Also takes a good penalty, but is no threat outside the box. Very similar in style to fellow summer recruit Gary Hooper.
Dugout Head to Head – Martinez v Hughton Past Meetings; Martinez wins: 1 Hughton wins :1 Draws: 1
Bottom Line: Hughton and Martinez have two very different approaches and it will be interesting to see what Martinez has in store tactically to combat Hughton’s expected 4-4-1-1. What we know so far is that a 4-2-3-1 would be the most likely option and it wouldn’t be surprising if Norwich let us control the game in our own half. Norwich will look to get the ball into the box quickly and in Van Wolfswinkel have the artillery to make us pay. I can see both teams scoring and honours even in the first game of this new era for Everton.
Dead cert: Both teams to score 4/5 Bet365