Everton will be aiming to end a two-game losing streak when they travel to Molineux in order to face an in-form Wolves side this evening.
The Toffees suffered a humiliating 5-2 thrashing at the hands of Watford last time out, and new manager Rafa Benitez faces another tough selection headache ahead of kick-off.
An injury to key midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure saw Tom Davies partner Allan in the engine room against the Hornets, and although the 23-year-old found the back of the net, the duo’s lack of mobility was brutally exposed.
Doucoure’s natural ability to cover a vast amount of ground in a short space of time has allowed Benitez to play just two midfielders in the opening weeks of the campaign, but without him in the side, Everton were left with too many gaps to plug.
The Frenchman’s capability to turn defence into attack with a well-timed tackle before marauding up the pitch and playing an intelligent pass is a unique set of skills that one player simply cannot replace.
As such, Benitez may be better off changing his system to cope with Doucoure’s absence rather than simply the personnel.
Playing a 4-3-3 rather than a 4-4-1-1 would allow Allan extra protection in the centre of the pitch while still having the bodies available to join in the attacks. And the Merseyside outfit may have the ideal candidate to come in and perform that role.
Since arriving at Goodison Park in August 2019, Jean-Philippe Gbamin has had some horrendous luck with injuries.
In two years, the Ivory Coast international has made just four appearances for Everton, but now could be the perfect opportunity for him to showcase his true potential on the Premier League stage.
When recovering from his latest fitness setback, the £65,000-per-week Gbamin enlisted the help of Theo Chapelle, a senior personal trainer, and consultant at the Odysium rehabilitation centre in Paris, who described his former client as a “monster”.
“He really impressed me during his stay here,” he told The Athletic. “The work we did together went really well. He appreciated working with us and that was reciprocated.
“He’s a great guy — kind, funny, respectful, calm, with his head on his shoulders. As an athlete, he’s a monster. I’ve never seen that in football, only athletics. He has exceptional physical qualities and a foolproof mentality.
“I’m certain that he’ll return stronger and whatever the obstacles in his way, will have a great career,” Chapelle concluded.
With Doucoure not expected to return for several weeks, Benitez will be forced to come up with a solution to his enforced absence, yet the answer could be a rather simple one.
Gbamin deserves a change of luck after his awful time on English shores, and that could begin with a start against Wolves, he just needs the faith of his manager behind him.
And, in other news…Everton receive big injury boost ahead of Wolves, Benitez will be delighted