Premier League

Everton-Wolverhampton Preview

Nuno Espirito Santo believes there will have to be some difficult decisions made as the Premier League continues to struggle with the impact of coronavirus.

Aston Villa's clash with Tottenham, scheduled for Wednesday, was called off on Monday, with Spurs instead facing Fulham – a game which was a cancelled due to COVID-19 over the festive period.

It was also confirmed on Monday that a 36 players and staff members from across the 20 top-flight clubs had tested positive for the virus in the latest round of testing.

Wolves host Everton on Tuesday, and Nuno thinks the time is right to assess whether the season can continue.

"Maybe it's the right moment to get together and hear all the voices, all the opinions, getting all the feelings from everybody; especially the players, how are they dealing, the doubts that they have, the fears, so we can make the right decisions, like everyone always did in English football," Nuno said.

"All the decisions were made with common sense and all the parts involved, so this is what I expect now, sooner rather than later, a proper meeting with all the sectors of the game involved."

Everton's Carlo Ancelotti, meanwhile, has faith in the league's protocols and believes it is important football can continue if it is safe.

"The country is in a difficult moment, football also. It is understandable [to ask for football to be stopped] but on the other hand I think it is clear that in this period, with people having to stay home, it's a good distraction for people to watch on TV," he said.

"I'm still convinced that the protocol we are using but of course it can happen that some players are positive.

"All we can do is follow the protocol and hope that the situation is going to finish soon."

Wolves – Leander Dendoncker

Dendoncker returned from injury to play in an FA Cup win over Crystal Palace on Friday, and Nuno has been given a big boost by the Belgium international's timely comeback. "He's very valuable. He's a top player and gives us many things, talented, the distances and the spaces that he can fulfil in the pitch are very important for us. I'm very happy," Nuno said.

Everton – Cenk Tosun

Everton will be without leading scorer Dominic Calvert-Lewin due to a hamstring injury, while Richarlison is also a doubt. Tosun, who scored on his first start of the season in a 2-1 win over Rotherham United, and Ancelotti was impressed, saying: "Cenk did well in the FA Cup, he scored a goal, focused in the box. He was out for a long time, his condition is not at the top but of course it is useful to having a striker who is used to scoring goals."

•Wolves have lost one of their six home Premier League matches against Everton (W2 D3), a 0-3 defeat in April 2011 under Mick McCarthy. Everton lost 0-3 against Wolves in their last Premier League match against them in July – they haven't lost consecutive league games against them since September 1979.

•Only Sheffield United (20) are on a longer current run of Premier League games without a clean sheet than Wolves (10), with Wolves conceding the first goal in nine of these 10 games.

•Everton are looking to win three consecutive Premier League away games without conceding for the first time since December 2008, following victories at Leicester and Sheffield United last month.

•Everton's Richarlison has scored four Premier League goals in four appearances against Wolves, including a brace at Molineux in August 2018. Peter Odemwingie (five) and Robbie Keane (six) are the only players to have scored more.

•Wolves players have attempted 376 dribbles (take-ons) in the Premier League this season, more than any other side. No player has created more chances following a take-on than Adama Traore (six), while Pedro Neto has made the joint-most drives into the box.

Updated January 11, 2021

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