Everton are getting ready to welcome Norwich City to the Goodison Park in the 3rd round of the EFL Cup tonight. The Toffees will be confident going into the fixture but Norwich will not be mere pushovers. They recently got related but have gone off to a flier in the Championship and are currently sat in the 2nd spot.
The fixture has a Premier League ring to it but we will have to wait at least a year to see the two teams fight it out in the top flight. Everton made it to the semi-finals last year and under the guidance of Ronald Koeman will be the targeting a couple of steps further this season. They have gone without a trophy for too long now and something has to give this year.
In the corresponding fixture last year, Everton edged out the Canaries via penalties but will be looking to get the job done in well in advance today.
Romelu Lukaku has been ruled out with a minor toe issue and will be rested. Mo Besic, Darron Gibson and James McCarthy are the only other Toffees’ unavailable due to injury.
Portugal forward Nelson Oliveira, a summer signing from Benfica, could make his Norwich debut. Midfielder Alex Tettey (hip) is a doubt while winger Matt Jarvis (knee) is out.
Robles, Coleman, Jagielka, Funes Mori, Oviedo, Gueye, Cleverley, Mirallas, Barkley, Deulofeu, Valencia.
Ruddy, Martin, Klose, Bassong, Olsson, Jacob Murphy, Howson, Dorrans, Josh Murphy, Naismith, Oliveira.
The striker was a surprise signing for Everton in the dying stages of the transfer window and is line for his first start for the Toffees. It will be a crucial moment as the way he adapts to his new team will be of paramount importance in Everton’s quest for the top 6 this season. Far too often they have had no alternative to Lukaku on his off days or during injuries. And if Valencia is able to show promising signs it will be a massive boost for Everton.
The good old Naismith will be making a return and will be getting a warm reception from the home fans. He might not start but will be brought into the fold when the need arises and Everton will know he possesses the ability to deliver the knockout punch to them. His ability to ghost in between the midfield and defence lines will require special monitoring.
Although Everton might not come out in full strength, it is still expected to be a long haul for Norwich. The Toffees have gone off to a flier and will be confident of dispatching them without breaking too much sweat. But Norwich will go in without any fear and it will be best if they attack the home side without not much to lose.