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Everton vs Wolves - Match Preview | Toffees seek win to move clear of relegation zone

Frank Lampard’s men face a season-defining week

Everton v Wolverhampton Wanderers - Premier League Photo by Tony McArdle/Everton FC via Getty Images

Everton welcome Wolves Goodison Park on Sunday knowing it is their remaining matches at the Grand Old Lady that are likely decide their Premier League fate.

Monday’s humiliation at Tottenham was miserable in so many ways, one of which being that it is the type of away performance we have sadly become used to from this team.

They have the worst away record in the division and all the signs suggest it is going to remain that way. That piles the pressure on the remaining home matches, with the Toffees needing more than just a handful of wins if they are to haul themselves away from danger.

But while the media have gleefully stuck the knife in this week, they have neglected to mention the fact that Frank Lampard has won three of his four home games in charge, and was desperately unlucky to lose the fourth against Manchester City.

The fans have generated a fearsome atmosphere for those games and it looks to have made a real difference to the players’ performance.

They will need all of that and more ahead of a season-defining week that includes home games with Wolves and Newcastle, before a FA Cup quarter-final at Crystal Palace.

A further positive is that results elsewhere have largely gone their way since Monday night. They could have easily dropped into the relegation zone by now. Instead they have at least two games in hand on all the sides around this.

Survival is in their hands. It is now up to then to grasp the opportunity.

The opposition

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Watford - Premier League Photo by Jack Thomas - WWFC/Wolves via Getty Images

Wolves head to Goodison boosted by a 4-0 thrashing of Watford on Thursday that had ended a run of three successive defeats (as well as helping Everton’s cause).

Prior to that game there had been some murmurs of frustration from their supporters who feared their tilt at European qualification was slipping away from them. But that win means they are just two points off sixth and five points outside the top four.

Bruno Lage has done a quietly effective job since replacing Nuno Espirito Santo in the summer. They are very solid defensively, with only the top three conceding fewer goals, while the Black County side boast the fourth-best away record in the league.

This will be tough.

Previous meeting

Wolves 2-1 Everton. November 1, 2021

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Everton - Premier League Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Everton’s season was really starting to go on the slide when the two teams last met at the start of November. A dreadful first half display saw Everton concede two goals in four minutes (sounds familiar?). Alex Iwobi pulled one back after the break but it was not enough.

Team news

Everton Training Session Photo by Tony McArdle/Everton FC via Getty Images

Everton have been boosted by the news that Demarai Gray and Ben Godfrey are fit to return, with the duo likely to be pitched straight back into the side.

Frank Lampard revealed Michael Keane has been struggling with a fever but has now recovered, though he may be the one to make way for Godfrey in the back four after his shaky display at Spurs.

Tom Davies, Fabian Delph and Yerry Mina are still a while away from a return.

What they said

Tottenham Hotspur v Everton - Premier League Photo by Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images

Everton boss Frank Lampard: “The fans will see that [fight] in the way we approach the game and perform on Sunday.

“I remain optimistic and confident about the team because I have belief in them, but the reality is we need results.

“We need to show the character and fight to stay in the league, as a base, and perform at a level to win games.”

“It has been a big pleasure of the job so far to experience Goodison, not just the support for myself; it gives the team energy and legs.

“We talk about mentality and personality, and clearly it’s given us a boost compared to our away form.

“We can’t rely on it, but it will be there because of what this club means to the fans.

“They know they can be such a push and drive for us.”

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Watford - Premier League Photo by Jack Thomas - WWFC/Wolves via Getty Images

Wolves boss Bruno Lage: “They have a new manager, a different way to play, sometimes they play with four defenders, sometimes with five. So, let’s see.

“What I know is the manager has experience, he was a top player, and Everton have top players, so it should be also like every game in the Premier League, a tough one to play, but we need to go there with courage to play our game.”

Final word

The template for this match is likely to be the same for every other home game between now and the end of the season. The fans need to be loud and boisterous, and hope the players respond in kind.