Sports Mole preview Monday’s Premier League clash between Everton and Wolverhampton Wanderers, including predictions, team news and possible line-ups.
Julen LopeteguiThe first glimpse of Premier League football will take place at Goodison Park on Monday afternoon, as the Spaniard takes his Wanderers of Wolverhampton side to Everton.
Wolves won 2-0 over Gillingham in the EFL Cup last week in what turned out to be Lopetegui’s first game at the helm, but Everton have not been in competition since the 3-0 defeat at Bournemouth in championship on November 12.
Everton suffered three defeats in a row before the World Cup campaign was halted, losing to both Leicester City and Bournemouth in the Premier League, in addition to a 4-1 loss to the latter in the EFL Cup.
The Toffees traveled to Bournemouth twice in the space of four days last month and were beaten 4-1 and then 3-0, following a 2-0 home loss to Leicester in the English top flight.
Frank Lampardare currently 17th in the Premier League tablewith just 14 points from their first 15 matches of the campaign, which left them just one point outside the relegation zone.
Everton have had some positive moments this season but their lack of goals has been a real concern, only managing to find the back of the net on 11 occasions in the Premier League this season.
Wolves are actually the league’s worst scorers this season with eight, suggesting Monday’s affair won’t be a high-scoring classic.
Everton’s next match after this one is away to champions Manchester City, which heightens the importance of the contest with fellow Wolves wrestlers.
The visitors are now under Lopetegui, who took charge of their first game last week which proved to be a 2-0 success against Gillingham in the EFL Cup Round of 16.
Raul Jimenez and Rayan Aït Nouri scored the goals in the cup game as Wolves progress to the quarter-finals of the competition, where they will meet Nottingham Forest on January 9.
Wolves have won just once in the Premier League since the start of September, losing four of their last five in the league during a period of difficult form.
The former Championship winners picked up a point at Brentford at the end of October but then lost at home to Brighton & Hove Albion and Arsenal before the campaign was halted for the World Cup.
Disappointing form has left Wolves bottom of the table on 10 points, with a record of just two wins, four draws and nine defeats in 15 league appearances this term.
Form of Everton Premier League:
Everton form (all competitions):
Form of Wolverhampton Wanderers Premier League:
Form of Wolverhampton Wanderers (all competitions):
Everton boss Lampard has said he will make a late call on Dominic Calvert-Lewin for this game, with the striker keen to come back from a knee problem.
Calvert-Lewin is believed to be winning his battle to make the team, but he is unlikely to start, as Andros Townsend and James Garner remain unavailable for selection.
Everton will also be deprived of the services of Conor Coadywho is ineligible against his parent club, which could open up a place in the middle of the defense for Yerry Mina.
As for wolves, Chiquinho, pedro neto and Sasa Kalajdzic are still on the sidelines due to injuries, while Jonny Castro and Boubacar Traore will have to deal with late fitness tests.
Adama Traore, Matheus Nunes and Jimenez are likely to enter the starting line-up for this game, while Hwang Hee-chan also pushes to be included.
Lopetegui will want to get a good look at his team over the next few matches in order to make a good assessment, with Daniel Podence and Goncalo Guedes should also be among those starting on Monday.
Possible Everton starting line-up:
Pickford; Patterson, Mina, Tarkowski, Mykolenko; Iwobi, Gueye, Onana; McNeil, Maupay, Gray
Possible Wolverhampton Wanderers starting roster:
HER ; Semedo, Collins, Kilman, Bueno; Neves, Nunes; Traoré, Podence, Guèdes; Jimenez
We say: Everton 1-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers
There’s not much difference in terms of quality between these two sides, and it’s a huge game even at this stage of the campaign. Both managers will be wary of losing which could make for a tense affair, and we are struggling to separate them at Goodison Park.
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Our expert forecasting partners at Sportita.com predict more than 1.5 goals in this game. Click here to find out what else they predict for this game and for more of their proven football tips.More than 1.5: data