Everton lock horns with Wolves at Goodison Park as the Premier League campaign resumes on Monday.
The Toffees are lying just outside of the bottom three with one point keeping them above Nottingham Forest. They have won just one of their last five league games and had entered the World Cup break with a defeat to Bournemouth.
Wolves, meanwhile, are rock bottom in the table and have lost four of their last five league fixtures. New manager Julen Lopetegui enjoyed a 2-0 win over Gillingham in the EFL Cup fourth round in midweek and he will be aiming to get his first league win on the board as well.
On that note, let us take a look at the key battles between Everton and Wolves.
#Alex Iwobi vs Ruben Neves
Alex Iwobi has arguably been Everton’s standout player this season. He has played in every single game so far, registering a goal and five assists.
Iwobi has thrived in a new box-to-box role and become a crucial cog in Everton’s setup under Frank Lampard. Expected to be a 4-3-3 formation for Wolves, Ruben Neves could anchor the midfield and dictate the tempo of play for the visitors.
Neves has been impressive with his passing and creativity from deep, whilst being effective in breaking the opposition’s play. So, the Portuguese could be tasked with keeping Iwobi quiet as the Nigerian is Everton’s main source of creativity.
#Neal Maupay vs Max Kilman
With Dominic Calvert-Lewin a bid doubt to face Wolves, Neal Maupay is likely to continue leading the line for Everton.
Maupay hasn’t hit the heights as expected at Everton since moving from Brighton in the past summer transfer window, netting just once in 10 league games. Yet, the Frenchman is a livewire in the box and could cause problems for the Wolves backline.
He will be up against Max Kilman—one of the Premier League’s emerging defensive talents. Kilman defending against Maupay should be a contest to watch out for, and the winner of this battle could have a huge say in determining the outcome of the game.
#Goncalo Guedes vs Vitalii Mykolenko
Goncalo Guedes started on the right of the front three against Gillingham and Wolves boss Julen Lopetegui is expected to stick with him in that position at Goodison Park.
Pacey and direct, Guedes can beat his man and is also a threat in front of goal. The Portuguese’s movements are clever and can link play well too. Wary of Guedes’ threat, Everton left-back Vitalii Mykolenko will have to be defensively switched on from minute one.
Mykolenko has been a mainstay in the Everton backline this season, developing into a reliable player under Lampard. How the Ukrainian deals with Guedes’ smart movements and explosive pace will be interesting to watch.