Wolves travel to Goodison Park on Wednesday evening in what will be their first game in a stadium with supporters since their last trip to Merseyside. A 4-0 defeat to Liverpool in December. 6,500 Everton fans will support their side who are in desperate need of a victory if they are to secure a European place this season.
Wolves have had an indifferent run of form in the past few weeks with two wins, two defeats and a draw in the last five games. Sunday’s performance away at Tottenham was underwhelming, with Wolves beaten in every department on the pitch and a score line which in truth flattered Nuno’s side. There have been plenty of positives from games against West Brom and Brighton with Wolves’ youngsters performing well, but the defeat at Tottenham will be an important learning curve for them ahead of the trip to Everton.
Interestingly, Everton’s form mirrors that of Wolves with two wins, two defeats and a draw in their last five games. It had looked as though Carlo Ancelotti’s side were destined for a European place this season, but their recent inconsistencies have now cast doubt over that, with a top seven place no longer in their hands. Sundays defeat at home to Sheffield United was their most damaging defeat of the season, leaving them three points behind West Ham and low on confidence and already relegated Sheffield United deserved their win. Everton have struggled at home this season, with a better record away from home than on Merseyside.
Nuno stuck with a back four for the game against Tottenham and is likely to continue to do so for the final two games of the season. There were, however, some surprising changes to the line-up that had beaten Brighton. Max Kilman will once again be wondering what he has to do to earn a regular starting place in the side as he was replaced by Romain Saiss. Ruben Neves also dropped to the bench, but Spurs’ midfield domination is likely to mean he will come back into the side for the trip to Everton, most likely in place of Moutinho. KI-Jana Hoever struggled against Reguilon and Bale and is likely to drop out, with Rayan Ait-Nouri coming back into the side. This will allow Nelson Semedo to move back to his more familiar right-hand side. Nuno confirmed after the defeat to Spurs that Daniel Podence will now receive surgery for an ongoing groin problem and will therefore miss the rest of the season. Wily Boly and Marcal have continued to train and are likely to once again be part of the matchday squad, but it would be a surprise to see either start at Goodison Park. Raul Jimenez is reportedly fit and raring to go, but he is awaiting confirmation form his specialist as to when he will be available for selection again.
Likely Line Up: Patricio, Semedo, Coady, Saiss, Ait-Nouri, Neves, Dendoncker, Traore, Gibbs-White, Vitinha, Silva (Subs: Ruddy, Kilman, Hoever, Boly, Marcal, Moutinho, Cundle, Jose)
Everton have a near fully fit squad for Wednesday, with just one known absence of Yerry Mina who is suffering from an adductor injury. James Rodriguez has returned from injury and started the game against Sheffield United, but did not look fit and was withdrawn in the second half. Everton are likely to match Wolves formation wise, adopting a 4-2-3-1 formation, led by Dominic Calvert-Lewin whose early season goal rush seems to have dried up somewhat.
Historically, Everton have had the better of Wolves, coming out on top 62 times in the 135 competitive games between two of English football’s oldest sides. Wolves have won 46 times against the Toffees. It has been very much honours even since promotion between the two sides, with both Everton and Wolves winning twice in addition to the draw in Wolves’ first game back in the topflight back in August 2018. Everton won the reverse fixture 2-1 at Molineux in early January, sparking an alarming downturn in form for Wolves who slid down the table before an upturn in results in February.
As has been the case for most of the season, you just do not know what you will get from Wolves. If Vitinha, Gibbs-White and Silva can replicate their promising performances against West Brom and Brighton, Wolves will certainly cause Everton problems. Adama Traore caused Everton problems at Molineux last year up against Digne and Holgate, something he will look to replicate. However, Wolves are always vulnerable with a back four and Everton’s plethora of attacking talent have unperformed recently. With the addition of 6,500 supporters behind them, it is hard to make a case for a Wolves clean sheet. Despite this, Everton’s form and home record is poor, and they are under immense pressure to finish in the top seven. If Wolves’ youngsters express themselves as we know they can, and lessons can be learnt from Sunday’s defeat, Nuno’s men can get a result at Goodison Park.
Prediction: Everton 1-1 Wolves