John Mikel Obi returns to action at Norwich this afternoon determined to make an impact before he departs once more on international duty.
The midfielder has served a three-match domestic suspension in time to return for three games in a week, but will be joining up with his Nigerian colleagues for the African Cup of Nations in early 2013.
‘After the Norwich match there are only two more games and I’ll be away again, as I think we have to meet up on January 4, and the manager said he wants to rotate the team and bring in fresh legs,’ Mikel said.
‘I’ve been playing since he started, so it’s probably been good to have a week or two off to recover a little and get the legs going again, but it will be good to come back for the Norwich game. I also played the first game in Japan which was quite good. Unfortunately I didn’t play in the final, I missed the last game and then Sunday was the last game to miss.’
The 8-0 win over Aston Villa, with David Luiz impressing in midfield, showed the effects of Japan seem truly to be out of the system, and Mikel, who also missed the midweek victory up at Leeds, knows the good form must continue over the next few days if we are to pick up points in Norfolk and on Merseyside.
‘These are very tough away fixtures, Norwich have been doing really well lately, even though they lost at West Brom. It’s going to be difficult so we need to be up for it if we want to win it,’ he said.
‘At the same time, we don’t need anybody to tell us about how hard it is to play at Everton, it’s always a difficult place to go for anybody. On their day they can beat any team at Goodison Park, and they’re in good form too. They will both be tough, but if we do well we can get something out of them if we are on our game.’
Although we won their in the League Cup last season, we have not triumped at Goodison Park in the league since April 2008, while our last visit to Carrow Road saw us depart with a point following a 0-0 draw in January.