Everton will be trying to rebound from their five-goal defeat to Tottenham Hotspur when they host Wolverhampton Wanderers at Goodison Park on Sunday in the Premier League.
The Toffees are presently 17th in the table, one point above the relegation zone, while Wolves are eighth in the table, five points below fourth-placed Arsenal.
Everton’s plight at the bottom of the table is made more worrying by the fact that the Merseyside club could be docked points for allegedly breaking the Premier League’s profit and sustainability criteria, putting them at risk of relegation to the Championship.
For the time being, the Toffees must concentrate on matters within their control, but their on-field issues were on clear show against Tottenham on Monday, with the Toffees losing 5-1 in North London.
Frank Lampard’s side trounced Leeds United 3-0 at home on February 12, but they have since lost their previous three league games to Southampton, Manchester City, and Tottenham, putting them in 17th place in the table, just one point ahead of 18th-placed Burnley, who have played one more game.
Everton, on the other hand, has only played 25 Premier League games this season, so they have three games in hand on the bottom two – Watford and Norwich City – and three games in hand on Leeds and Brentford, who are directly above them, so their position could alter in the coming weeks.
WHEN & WHERE?
Venue: Goodison Park.
Date: Sunday, 13th of March 2022.
Time: Kick-off at 14:00 BST.
Referee: Michael Oliver.
Assistant Referees: Simon Bennett, Scott Ledger.
Video Assistant Referee: Lee Mason.
Fourth Official: Jonathan Moss.
Everton will be missing Tom Davies, Fabian Delph, and Yerry Mina due to injury, although Lampard claimed Ben Godfrey and Demarai Gray are both available in his pre-match media briefing.
For the Toffees, Godfrey and Gray are likely to return to the starting XI, with Michael Keane and Anthony Gordon likely to be dropped, and Vitalii Mykolenko set to start at left-back.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison will both start in the final third of the pitch, while Donny van de Beek, despite struggling against Tottenham, should keep his place in central midfield.
Michael Keane, the home side’s central defender, is also ready after being replaced against Spurs last time out due to sickness.
Wolves will be without Ki-Jana Hoever and Nelson Semedo due to injury, but the visitors have no additional issues heading into this weekend’s showdown.
Head coach Lage is anticipated to keep the most of the players that started the four-goal triumph over Watford, but a couple of changes are possible, with Leander Dendoncker possibly replacing Joao Moutinho in midfield and Pedro Neto replacing Hwang Hee-chan further forward.
Max Kilman is also likely to return to the team, possibly replacing Willy Boly. Fabio Silva is another player seeking to be featured from the start, but Jimenez and Podence will be assured starters, with Jonny Castro returning to the right-sided wing-back position.
A major step towards safety for the Toffees or yet another hammering win for Lage’s men?
Everton, under Frank Lampard, have managed to pick up just one win in five games in the league since he took over. They currently sit in the 17th place in the league table with at least two games in hand over the three relegation favourites.
However, they do have big fixtures like Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea lined up in the upcoming gameweeks and will hence aim to pick up maximum points in their remaining easier share of fixtures in order to ensure safety.
It will be pretty tough to break down this Wolves defence though, who have conceded the fourth-least amount of goals this season. The appointment of Bruno Lage has helped this Wolves team reach their full potential in terms of defensive stability and compactness and are on their course to reach their potential in attacking terms as well.
If its anyone who can cause a major upset by breaking down this Wolves defence, it is Frank Lampard’s Everton, and it could end up being evident in this game.
EVERTON – RICHARLISON:
WOLVES – MAX KILMAN:
This season, the 24-year-old is hailed with strengthening Wolverhampton’s defensive toughness and compactness. Kilman has performed admirably as a wide centre-back for Wolves this season, contributing to the team’s formidable defensive record of just 23 goals allowed.
Kilman will play a key part in this match, as he will be challenged to keep a hungry Richarlison quiet, given the Brazilian’s speed and clinicality. He has progressively established himself as a stalwart in Wolves’ defence, and he appears to be a player who, if he continues to execute well, may make a substantial move to a conventional ‘big six’ club in the future.
Everton (4-4-2): Pickford; Coleman, Godfrey, Keane, Mykolenko; Doucoure, Allan, Van de Beek; Gray, Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison.
Wolves (3-4-3): Sa; Kilman, Coady, Saiss; Jonny, Neves, Dendoncker, Ait-Nouri; Podence, Jimenez, Neto.