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Everton: Predicted XI to face Wolverhampton Wanderers

Everton make their long-awaited return to Premier League football today, as they host Wolverhampton Wanderers in their Boxing Day clash.

The Toffees will have welcomed the World Cup-enforced break, given their abysmal run of form as the competition approached.

Frank Lampard will be hoping that their month-long training period, combined with their mid-season tour to Australia can pay dividends now as they face the rock-bottom Old Gold.

With fresh injuries, returning faces and one unfortunate omission here’s the predicted Everton XI for today’s clash (4-3-3)…

(GK) Pickford, (RB) Patterson, (CB) Godfrey, (CB) Tarkowski, (LB) Mykolenko; (CM) Onana, (CM) Gueye, (CM) Iwobi; (RW) Gray, (ST) Cannon, (LW) Gordon.

Lampard is expected to make three changes from their miserable 3-0 thrashing at the hands of AFC Bournemouth last month.

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Jordan Pickford, having returned from England duty, will be thrown back into the starting line-up amid his contract talks.

The main absentee from today’s game is Conor Coady, who is unable to feature due to his current loan deal.

Having joined from the Midlands outfit in the summer, despite his immense impact it may surprise some that he still is not an official player for Everton. Whilst it may become permanent in the future, for now, he is unavailable.

However, with Ben Godfrey now deemed “fully fit and available” by injury specialist Ben Dinnery, he could return to partner James Tarkowski.

Nathan Patterson and Vitaliy Mykolenko will flank this solid defensive pairing.

The midfield three will also remain unchanged, despite worries over their creativity and familiarity with their various roles. James Garner had threatened to break into the side, but has now been ruled out for the foreseeable future.

Therefore, Amadou Onana and Idrissa Gana Gueye will operate slightly more defensively as the creative burden falls upon Alex Iwobi’s shoulders.

In the second change, Anthony Gordon is expected to return to replace Dwight McNeil.

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First up on the quiz: after what match was Rafa Benitez sacked?

Having notched a hat trick in Australia, and another in their win against Aston Villa behind closed doors, it could mark a big second half of the season for the 21-year-old who is also reportedly set to sign a new long-term deal.

He will likely occupy the left flank, with Demarai Gray on the opposite side.

Finally, with the suggestion that Dominic Calvert-Lewin may only be fit enough for the bench, perhaps Lampard could reward the 19-year-old Tom Cannon with his first-ever Premier League start.

The teenage sensation has been in “ruthless” goalscoring form, as noted by journalist Joe Thomas, and even scored his first for the club during the Australia tour too.

With Neal Maupay disappointing before the break – scoring just once in 11 outings – Cannon could be the answer to all their issues as they face the first of a string of must-win matches.