Everton will strive to recover from their five-goal humbling at the hands of Tottenham Hotspur when they host Wolves in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon.

If the task of getting out of a relegation battle wasn’t difficult enough, Everton could now potentially face a points-deduction if they are found to have broken the Premier League’s new sustainability rules, according to reports in the English press.

However, Frank Lampard’s side must concentrate on factors within their control for the time being. Their defensive organisation was all over the place against Tottenham on Monday, when they conceded five goals in an uninspiring display.

The Toffees defeated fellow strugglers Leeds United 3-0 at home in February, but have since lost their past three games against Southampton, Manchester City and Tottenham, leaving them in 17th position in the table, only one point ahead of 18th-placed Burnley, who have played one game more than the Merseysiders.

There were really no silver linings from Everton’s spineless performance on Monday, and it seems the Blues are sleepwalking towards relegation. They must start to pick up results sooner rather than later, and successive home games against Wolves and Newcastle will be absolutely huge, with a difficult run of fixtures against West Ham United, Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea coming in quick succession after that.

Wolves, meanwhile, are coming off a 4-0 victory over Watford on Thursday night, with Raul Jimenez, Daniel Podence, and Ruben Neves all getting on the scoresheet at the Molineux. Bruno Lage’s side’s unlikely top-four push has gone off track lately after they lost three straight games against Arsenal, West Ham United, and Crystal Palace.

However, their big win over Watford will certainly have developed a feel-good factor around the Wolves camp. They are currently sitting eighth in the league table with 43 points after 28 games, only two points adrift of sixth-placed West Ham, who have a difficult assignment against Aston Villa. They will be gunning for all three points when they head to Goodison Park to face Everton.

Team News & Tactics

Everton

 

Everton will be missing Tom Davies, Fabian Delph, and Yerry Mina due to injury, although manager Frank Lampard revealed in his pre-match media briefing that Ben Godfrey and Demarai Gray are back in full training and should be available for Sunday’s visit of Wolves.

The former Chelsea boss will look to shake things up following a 5-0 mauling at Spurs last time out, with Everton’s defence particularly requiring structure and cohesion. Jordan Pickford will start in goal for the Toffees.

In defence, Michael Keane was taken out at half-time against Tottenham due to sickness, but he might be fit enough to start here. Godfrey’s return is timely and he could be in line to partner Keane in central defence. Seamus Coleman will play at right-back, while Vitaliy Mykolenko may start at left-back in place of Jonjoe Kenny for the Wolves game.

Allan will function along with Abdoulaye Doucoure in central midfield, with the former mopping up loose balls and the latter driving Everton up the pitch. Donny van de Beek should keep his place in central midfield despite his struggles against Tottenham.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin has looked way off the pace and has yet to break his duck since returning from injury, but will once again get the responsibility to spearhead the Toffees’ attack against Wolves. The England international will get support from Gray and Richarlison, who will be looking to create from wide areas. Anthony Gordon could be used as an impact sub off the bench.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Pickford; Coleman, Godfrey, Keane, Mykolenko; Doucoure, Allan, van de Beek; Gray, Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison

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Wolves

Wolves boss Bruno Lage has no fresh injury concerns, with Ki-Jana Hoever and Nelson Semedo the only players ruled out for the trip to Goodison Park. Lage would ideally want to stick with the majority of players that took to the field in the four-goal win over Watford, but given the quick turnaround between games, a fair bit of rotation is expected depending on his players’ fitness levels.

Jose Sa is expected to take his place between the sticks, with Wolves lining up in a 3-4-3 formation in front of him. Wolves will likely focus on keeping their shape with a back-three consisting of Romain Saiss, captain Conor Coady and Max Kilman, with Willy Boly missing out.

Rayan Ait-Nouri could feature in the lineup at left wing-back, whereas Jonny Castro will add another dimension to Wolves’ attacking play down the right. Up ahead in midfield, there is no looking past Ruben Neves, while Leander Dendoncker could replace Joao Moutinho to form a double-pivot alongside the Portuguese.

The onus of providing the forward thrust and creativity will fall on Pedro Neto and Daniel Podence, who will be the supporting cast for star striker Raul Jimenez.

Probable Lineup (3-4-3): Sa; Kilman, Coady, Saiss; Jonny, Dendoncker, Neves, Ait-Nouri; Podence, Jimenez, Neto

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Key Stats

  • Everton have lost seven of their last eight Premier League games (W1), while they have also failed to score in their last three matches.
  • The Toffees have only lost once in their last ten home league meetings against Wolves (W6 D3), a 3-1 loss in February 2019.
  • Wolves have the fourth-best away record in the Premier League this season, picking up 23 points from 14 games on the road (W7 D2 L4).
  • Bruno Lage’s side have been water-tight defensively on their travels and have conceded more than a goal in only two of their last ten away matches.
  • Since the start of 2021, Everton have lost more home league games than any other team in the division (13).

Player to Watch

Ruben Neves

Ruben Neves has been one of Wolves’ star performers this season and one of the major driving forces behind their success so far. The Portuguese midfielder scored another superb goal for the Black Country outfit in their 4-0 win over Watford in midweek to take his tally to four for the Premier League season.

Tactically, Lage has changed his role from a deep-lying midfielder last season to operating in more advanced areas of the pitch this term. As a result, his overall involvement in the final third has improved drastically. He will once again be looking to make valuable contributions for his side’s benefit at Goodison Park.

Prediction

Everton 1-1 Wolves

Wolves bounced back well in midweek following a three-game losing streak. They will be favourites in this one based on their form, with Frank Lampard’s side in free fall. That said, Everton look a much better outfit at home with fans behind them and are in desperate need of all three points.

Facing a very stout Wolves backline, the Toffees are unlikely to score more than once. The Hard Tackle predicts a scruffy 1-1 draw at Goodison Park, with Frank Lampard’s men claiming a crucial point in their battle to beat the drop.

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