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Venue: Carrow Road, Norwich
Premier League
 Saturday 17 August 2013; 3:00pm
2 2
Whittaker (51'), Van Wolfswinkel (71')
Half Time: 0-0
Barkley (61'), Coleman (65')
Attendance: 26,824
Fixture 1
Referee: Michael Oliver

Match Summary

Roberto Martinez's first real game in charge; Everton started with a line-up that included Barkley, Baines, Fellaini and Jelavic. The first forward movement from Everton was an overhit hoof from Distin after a minor amount of crossfield passing following the kick-off. Patient build-ups followed, with Everon dominating the early play, Pienaar winning an early free kick.

More patient but unproductive play eventually led to another hoof, lost possession and an attack by Norwich that also won a free-kick, defended away.

A slightly stronger development through the middle looked promising but more overworking of the play around the Norwich area only led to a half-chance for Pienaar that curled well wide. The next attack looked better, but ended with a poor overhit cross from Coleman.

Norwich meanwhile looked to break quicker and more directly, winning a couple of corners that ended with a push on Howard. Their next corner saw a handball against Martin.

Baines finally got a chance to whip in a decent cross that led to Everton's first corner after 20 mins, headed over by Fellaini. Jelavic finally set up Mirallas after more PBUP, but the Belgian screwed his shot wide.

Everton came close on another Baines corner,whipped in and flicked on by Jelavic but it was too strong for Fellaini at the far post. Coleman then got behind off a good Pienaar pass and Mirallas's goalbound shot hit an arm.

Osman gave Norwich an advantage that led to a free-kick and corner but Everton's defence was doing its job, as the pace of the game improved on the half-hour, both sides pressing for the first goal, and more Baines corners that Norwich took in their stride.

Great outfield play by Everton but the pace was often slow to laboured to downright retrograde when they would pass it back to Howard. Great possession play but few real chances being created. Off Everton's 6th corner, Jagielka was off balance and shot well over.

A faster break forward with Pienaar ended when Mirallas was fractionally offside. Coleman looked to penetrate but seemed to be making the wrong choices after getting into some great positions. But it seemed the Blues were under instruction not to shoot from too far out, but a block on Mirallas set up Baines for a free-kick that finally came to xf who drilled his shot just over the angle.

After the break, Coleman gave Mirallas a better ball that he drove from close range into the side-netting. But it was Norwich who finally took the lead, Whittaker waltzing past an uninterested Fellaini and beating Howard, smacking the far post, then scoring from a narrower angle with the rebound.

The goal seemed to add a little more urgency to the patient passing play and it eventually paid off when COleman from a throw-in, cut inside and eventually found Barkley moved the ball to his lethal left foot then powered in a fantastic strike, smacking inside Ruddy's side netting in brilliant style. A great goal from the young lad!

It was a tremendous goal and a worthy celebration, the whole team going to the corner to celebrate.

Everton kept pressing and went into the lead after a good forward pass to Jelavic whose shot was parried by Ruddy and COleman following up had an easy tap-in, much to the supreme delight of the traveling Blues fans. Martinez then put Naismith on in place of Mirallas.

But Norwich were back level off a miss-hit cross from Whittaker that Van Wolfswinkel too easily headed past Howard to equalize with Everton at that stage rampant and looking solid for the win.

Naismith looked cetain to score when a got on the end of a ball flicked on nicely by Jelavic but he was perhaps too close to the keeper waho was most grateful to block the shot and his defender came in to make sure Jelavic could not power his follow-up into the back of the net, and a draww seened certain from that point onward.

Coleman came close with a meaty left-foot shot near the end but the Blues could not creat enough to win the game, having conceded two rather soft goals.

Michael Kenrick

Match Preview

A new season and, potentially, the start of a new era at Everton as all the anticipation, expectation and apprehension surrounding Roberto Martinez's appointment as David Moyes's successor gives way to the landmark of his first competitive match in charge.

Though a curtain-raiser at Goodison Park would have been a more fitting introduction to the Spaniard's reign, a trip to Carrow Road offers the chance to get the new season off to a flyer away from home before the visit of West Bromwich Albion next weekend. The Blues won just four times on the road last season and there's no question that three points from the first away game would provide a tremendous boost as Martinez plots to improve on the sixth-place finish earned in 2012-13 without massive expenditure on the squad.

Martinez announced his arrival at Goodison with four signings inside his first 10 days in charge, adding much-needed depth up in goal, in defence and up front, as well as an unpredictable prospect in midfield in the form of Barcelona prodigy, Gerard Deulofeu.

Together with the further development of Ross Barkley and the meteoric rise to first-team contention of John Stones, the threadbare squad that frustrated Moyes's attempts to resuscitate a faltering Champions League charge last term looks a good deal healthier coming into the new campaign... although it's hard not to cast envious eyes at the targeted acquisitions made by Andre Villas-Boas at Tottenham, for example, and not feel that Everton are still a couple of top-class players away from being able to trouble the top four again.

Though Martinez's costliest acquisition, Arouna Kone, won't have fired the imagination like someone younger and more prolific might have done, the Ivorian brings important competition for places in the striker role. He will also offer something different to the more predatory and service-reliant Nikica Jelavic and the erratic Victor Anichebe who is still learning to harness his physical strength and eye for goal and balance them with an uneven temperament.

Where neither of last season's primary strikers proved adept at prowling the channels, Kone should be more versatile in that regard in a system geared to moving the ball around on the floor. He would seem to be an unlikely starter this weekend, however, given how short of match fitness and sharpness he has looked over the pre-season programme. A shortage of gametime, no doubt down to his fasting for Ramadan, means that Evertonians have seen little of him so far but his decent return for a relegated Wigan team last season shows that he could be an important part of Martinez's arsenal.

So, too, should Jelavic if pre-season is any indication. The Croatian has rediscovered his goalscoring instincts over the past month, netting in three of the last five friendlies and displaying little evidence of the chronic lack of confidence and sharpness that plagued him last season. Time will tell if life under a new manager and new approach can revitalise him but it goes without saying that, if he can get back to the form he showed when he first arrived, Everton's prospects for 2013-14 will be greatly enhanced.

In goal, Tim Howard appears to have responded well to the arrival of Joel Robles from Atletico Madrid, the Spanish goalkeeper almost certain to provide more competition for the "number one" slot than did Jan Mucha. And with Sylvain Distin showing no signs of having lost his tremendous pace and awareness, Phil Jagielka reveling in the Captain's role and Leighton Baines and Seamus Coleman forming potentially lethal weaponry down the flanks, the defence remains a strong part of the Blues' team.

One possible question mark with regard to the back line is the impact of the new boss's methods, formation and possession-based playing style, one that was a cause for great optimism based on the performance against Juventus but has in the friendlies since perhaps prompted some unease, particularly given the profligacy with the ball of the players against Real Betis last Sunday. Fatigue from the USA trip will undoubtedly have played its part, though, and to the extent that Martinez has altered the layout of the team and attempts to retain the ball, matters will become a little clearer when the Blues cross the white line for real come Saturday.

The manager is known to favour a three-man defence and will almost certainly experiment with it over the course of the season but he hasn't used it since the Juventus game in San Francisco and it's unlikely it will be deployed against the Canaries.

As ever, it's in midfield where the keys to the season lie; with the weight of evidence from last season, together with the (admittedly limited) indications from the pre-season games, doubts remain as to whether there is sufficient quality to propel the Blues into the European qualification places. Each of Darron Gibson, Leon Osman and Marouane Fellaini have shown they can be vital cogs in the machine and also match winners on their day but, against certain opposition, there is still the nagging feeling that we still need a string-pulling artisan like Mikel Arteta (who still hasn't been adequately replaced) or a driving box-to-box midfielder who can break up play and quickly turn defence into attack through the middle.

Unquestionably, therefore to these eyes at least the most important player in Martinez's squad is Kevin Mirallas; if he can avoid the injury problems that disrupted his first season in the Premier League and robbed the Blues of the Belgian's talents at a crucial part of the campaign, then he could make a significant difference to Everton's prospects.

With his pace, trickery and ability to turn a match on his own, Mirallas is potentially as important to Everton this coming season as Gareth Bale was to Tottenham's fifth-place finish last season. Given the right license to roam, his talent alone could compensate for the shortage of creativity in the centre of the park but there are obviously risks in relying on him too heavily.

Certainly, a reliable, consistent performer in the centre who offers more pace than Osman and more craft than Gibson or Fellaini would seem to be the missing piece of the puzzle. Leroy Fer had clearly been identified as an answer back in January but based on his summer signings, Martinez's priorities appear to have been elsewhere. He has hinted that he is still looking to add to his team before the transfer window closes; with the door still not closed to a late departure by Fellaini, there could yet be some drama before the end of the month.

That speculation and uncertainty will be on hold for the trip to Carrow Road, though, and, Gibson's knee injury notwithstanding, Martinez's starting line-up is likely to be a familiar one. Given the extent of his involvement in pre-season, Ross Barkley is likely to be the beneficiary if Gibson is ruled out, the 20-year-old a potential starter alongside Fellaini, Pienaar and Mirallas. It's not clear whether the new boss will persist with his predecessor's rigid adherence to a lone striker or use Mirallas as the auxiliary forward and add another option, like Steven Naismith, in midfield.

Norwich will come into the new season with quiet confidence given Chris Hughton's astute purchases over the summer, among them Fer, Van Wolfswinkel, and rumoured Everton target Nathan Redmond. The Canaries had a fair record at home last season, losing just four times and beating the Blues along the way in a game that probably sounded the dell knell on Moyes's final quest for Europe at the Goodison helm.

Those new players will need time to gel thanks to a red card at the end of the Dutch season, Fer is suspended for this one and with the opening day always a little unpredictable, anything could happen. Can the optimism of the dawning Martinez era translate into a morale-boosting victory to grease the wheels of his brand new bandwagon? COYB.

Lyndon Lloyd

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Match Preview
Match Summary
Match Report
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NORWICH (4-4-2)
  Turner booked:58'
  Martin booked:44'
  E Bennett
  Redmond (86' Olsson)
  Hoolahan (73' Tettey)
  Van Wolfswinkel
  Subs not used

EVERTON (4-5-1)
  Barkley (90+3' Anichebe)
  Mirallas (70' Naismith)
  Jelavic (81' Kone)
  Subs not used
  Robles, , ,
  Alcaraz (injured)
  Hibbert (injured)
  Gueye (injured)
  Gibson (injured)

Premier League Scores
Arsenal 1 - 3 Aston Villa
Liverpool 1 - 0 Stoke City
Norwich 2 - 2 Everton
Sunderland 0 - 1 Fulham
West Brom 0 - 1 Southampton
West Ham 2 - 0 Cardiff City
Swansea 1 - 4 Man United
Crystal Palace 0 - 1 Tottenham
Chelsea 1 - 0 Hull City
Man City  4 - 0 Newcastle
Chelsea  2 - 1 Aston Villa

Team Pts
1 Manchester City 3
2 Manchester United 3
3 Aston Villa 3
4 West Ham United 3
4 Chelsea 3
6 Fulham 3
6 Liverpool 3
6 Southampton 3
6 Tottenham Hotspur 3
10 Everton 1
10 Norwich City 1
12 Crystal Palace 0
12 Stoke City 0
12 Sunderland 0
12 West Bromwich Albion 0
16 Arsenal 0
17 Hull City 0
17 Cardiff City 0
19 Swansea City 0
20 Newcastle United 0

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