Early Strugglers Everton and Wolverhampton Wanderers Go Head-To-Head
This weekend brings us an early six-pointer in the Premier League as Everton host Wolverhampton Wanderers at Goodison Park.
It has been a tough start to the season for both sides coming into this weekend’s match.
After two games, Everton and Wolves have scored just once between them and conceded an alarming 10 times. The goal records do not entirely reflect either sides’ performances, however.
Despite being on the receiving end of a 4-0 dismantling at the hands of Aston Villa last week, Everton did show major promise in their season opener against Fulham. In the meantime, they’ve continued their search for a reliable first-team striker who can fix their goal-scoring struggles.
Wolves have also been promising. Despite them conceding the same amount of goals as this weekend’s hosts, they’ve seen 39 shots taken across the team with 11 going on target. They have also, at least, scored a goal this season.
With both teams touted for a fierce relegation battle before the season even began, Saturday’s match could prove to be a pivotal factor in the fate of both come the end of the season.
As mentioned, Everton have shown some promise at times this season.
They heavily outperformed Fulham in expected goals (xG) and xG on target (xGOT), but ultimately fell to a late Fulham winner courtesy of Bobby Decordova-Reid. It quickly became clear that Everton were still in dire need of a proficient goal scorer and their woes were compounded further against Aston Villa.
The Toffees travelled to the West Midlands and faced a humbling defeat, at which point the problems once again went beyond simply needing a goal scorer. Everton now need to improve in all aspects of their game and will hope to begin doing so against Wolves this weekend.
Manager Sean Dyche remains focused in the face of despair, reassuring fans that the club is still in the midst of a rebuild and they do not need to worry at this stage.
That sentiment is slightly soured by the fact that Everton are without star striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin once again, due to a facial injury sustained against Aston Villa. Alex Iwobi is also set to miss a couple of weeks of action due to a hamstring injury.
Summer signing Youssef Chermiti is still lacking match fitness but fans will likely see a start from loan-signing Arnaut Danjuma after the Dutchman featured against Villa last Sunday.
Predicted Line-Up: Pickford; Patterson, Keane, Tarkowski, Young; Gueye, Garner, Doucoure, Onana, Danjuma; Maupay.
Wolves probably come into this game in slightly better shape, despite also conceding five goals across their two opening games.
The visitors could certainly argue their case after a 1-0 loss to Manchester United in their opening fixture as they were denied a penalty late on due to Andre Onana mistiming his punch and clattering into Sasa Kalajdzic.
Wolves went toe-to-toe with United, just edging them on xG (2.21-2.35) after taking six shots on target. Doing that at Old Trafford was an impressive show of intent from the West Midlands club.
What followed was a disappointing visit to Brighton and Hove Albion who put on a dazzling performance to secure a 4-1 win, seeing Wolves suffer a similar defeat to Everton. Wolves will be rearing to go in this one and will be confident that their finishing worries are more easily solved by the likes of Matheus Cunha, Pablo Sarabia, and Hwang Hee-Chan.
They will line-up this weekend without star player Matheus Nunes after he was sent off against Brighton. Hwang Hee-Chan could start after scoring a goal in the same game.
Predicted Line-Up: Sa; Semedo, Dawson, Kilman, Nouri; Neto, J. Gomes, Lemina, Hwang; Cunha, Sarabia.
This is a vital six-pointer despite it being so early in the season. Both sides will be desperate to really get off the mark and find their scoring touch.
Everton will demand a highly structured, professional display from themselves after last week’s poor showing. They’ll need to show mental strength and togetherness as they miss some key figures in the side.
Wolves will be hoping that Cunha can find his shooting boots after the forward has looked dangerous in his first two games. The midfield battle between the two sides could be interesting with Nunes being suspended.
Key Player: Hwang Hee-Chan scored in Wolves’ last game as well as scoring in the last meeting between the two sides. He has looked sharp when appearing this season.
Where to watch: Everton v Wolves will not be broadcast on UK TV due to the 3pm blackout.
Score Prediction: 1-1
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