Wolverhampton Wanderers will host a relegation-threatened Everton side at Molineux in their penultimate Premier League clash this afternoon and Julen Lopetegui will surely be wanting to see out the final home game of the season on a high note.
The Spaniard’s impact since arriving in the Midlands in November has been huge and ultimately transformed Wolves’ season after finding themselves struggling to pick up points and fighting against relegation for the majority of the campaign.
Now the club sit 13th in the Premier League after several improved performances has secured them safety in the top flight and a victory in front of the unwavering home support today will further cement the faith in Lopetegui ahead of next season.
Indeed, the meeting with Sean Dyche’s side will not be easy as the Toffees are teetering on the edge of the relegation zone and will be fighting for their lives on the pitch to ensure they can take the crucial points needed to join Wolves in surviving a drop into the Championship.
Wolves have taken all three points away from their last three league games against the Merseysiders, but after a 2-0 defeat to Manchester United last weekend, it could be an opportunity for Lopetegui to shake things up in the attacking threat with Hwang Hee-chan replacing Diego Costa in front of goal.
Will Hwang Hee-chan start against Everton?
It is fair to say that one of the biggest issues that Wolves have had this season is their lack of goal contributions, with no other team in the entire Premier League scoring fewer goals (30) this season.
Indeed, the Midlands outfit did make the effort to improve their presence in front of goal by signing former Chelsea star Costa on a free transfer in September, however, the Brazilian striker has failed to make the desired impact with just one goal scored so far and against Man United last weekend continued his uninspiring form.
Costa failed to have a single shot on or off target with just 22 touches of the ball over his 78-minute performance at Old Trafford, however, Hwang put on a much more lively cameo when he came off the bench for the second half.
The £30k-per-week South Korean dynamo – hailed “dangerous” by Kevin Campbell – delivered two shots on target, completed 100% of his dribbles and long balls, as well as making 13 accurate passes during his 45-minute display, warranting a much-deserved opportunity to start against Everton this afternoon.
Hwang has tallied up three goals and three assists over his 30 appearances in all competitions this season, but has only made ten starts in the top flight due to several injury troubles, which has ultimately hindered his ability to get a good run of form going in the team.
With that being said, Lopetegui essentially has nothing to lose by switching up his attack and making tweaks to his starting eleven this afternoon, but putting in the effort to improve upon last week’s performance will be essential in proving his intent to get Wolves back to their winning ways next season.