Everton set sights on another top four push against struggling Wolves side
Everton to win 1-0
Both Wolves and Everton secured narrow victories in their FA Cup matches at the weekend, albeit with the help of extra time in the Toffees’ case.
For Wolves in particular, this win will have given them a small boost of confidence which has been lacking in recent weeks, with their form and league position both taking a tumble. They currently sit in 13th place, seven points off the top four and 11 points ahead of relegation.
In the league, they have managed just one win from seven and are struggling for goals with the absent Raul Jimenez continuing his recovery from a skull fracture.
Everton’s form has been better, with the 7th placed side seeking their 10th win of the season from 17 matches. Due to their postponed match against Manchester City, just one defeat has seen them tumble from 2nd.
They’ll be eyeing this as an opportunity to recover with a win.
Form Guide (all comps): DWLWW
Reasons to be cheerful:
Won their FA Cup match at the weekend
Often reserve their best football for bigger opposition
Reasons to be fearful:
No clean sheets in last 10 matches
Desperately short of goals
The FA Cup can often be a positive distraction for teams who are struggling in the league, and Wolves will have enjoyed their narrow win over Crystal Palace at the weekend, taking them into the 4th round.
Nevertheless, their league form is a little worrying – they are highly unlikely to be dragged into a relegation scrap, but they have little chance of challenging for European spots if their goal drought continues.
Raul Jimenez’s absence continues, with the likes of Fabio Silva, Neto and Podence unable to regularly create in front of goal. The latter is also injured for this one.
Everton are far more clinical in front of goal, which is why Wolves must tighten up their defence for this one – only Sheffield United have endured a longer run without a clean sheet.
Star Man – Adama Traore
Scored a wonder goal against Crystal Palace in the FA Cup which will give him great confidence.
Form Guide (all comps): WLWLW
Reasons to be cheerful
One defeat in six represents strong form
Could go back into top four with victory
Reasons to be fearful
Only won three of last 11 meetings with Wolves
Injury to Dominic Calvert-Lewin
Everton are in good form, having won four of their previous five league matches, however face an uphill battle to return to the top four where they have spent much of the season so far.
The Toffees have a game in hand, but so do three teams above them in Manchester United, Tottenham and Manchester City. Everton are reliant on one or more of those teams dropping points to climb above them.
They must also do so without Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Everton’s top scorer, who has picked up a hamstring issue although this should not keep him out for long.
The Brazilian Richarlison will return fresh having been rested in their FA Cup match at the weekend.
Everton will be wary of Wolves, who often reserve their best performances for the bigger teams, but the Toffees know they have the firepower here.
Star Man – Richarlison
Is Everton’s most creative player, but must also step up with goals in the absence of Calvert-Lewin.
Should be a fairly even match
Everton have the greater firepower
Wolves could struggle to create chances
In the last couple of seasons, Wolves would have likely had the edge in this fixture – in fact Everton have only beaten them twice in the last 11 attempts.
However, with Wolves’ distinct lack of firepower, as well as problems keeping the ball out of their own net, they are certainly underdogs here.
Sometimes that can suit them, but in this case Everton are the favourites and have the big players to do the business on the pitch.
Everton to win 1-0