Wolves are looking to bounce back from successive defeats as they take on Everton at the Molineux on Sunday. With the dream of finishing in a Champions League spot all but shattered, they must now focus on remaining in contention for a place in the Europa League. A win would be enough to keep them in sixth for now but anything less could see them slip down the table. The match kicks off at 12pm on BT Sport.
It was a heartbreaking defeat for Wolves against Sheffield United on Wednesday with John Egan stealing all three points for the Blades right at the death, when he headed home from a corner. It was a lapse in concentration that cost Wolves the draw and it’s something that they definitely need to look at going into the next game. At this crucial point in the season, they can’t afford to be letting concentration slip and need to be able to see out results.
Another thing that needs to improve in the next game is the ability to create chances and press with intensity. I have said before that Wolves need to find other ways of breaking teams down rather than just relying on Adama Traore. With his shoulder such a risk, he can’t be their only option. In the game on Wednesday, Wolves were lacking in creativity and the midfield duo of Joao Moutinho and Ruben Neves seemed to struggle to bring the wingback’s, usually a crucial element of Wolves’ attack, into the game. Against Everton, I think Wolves really need to up the intensity. I’d like to see more bursting runs from the forwards and to see Wolves really pressuring Everton into making mistakes.
With the Premier League granting special dispensation to allow Daniel Podence to make the matchday squad on Wednesday, it was frustrating to see him go unused. He is one of a number of players who have been left waiting on the sidelines along with the likes of Ruben Vinagre and Leonardo Campana. The fact that Nuno didn’t utilise any of these players when it was clear that Wolves were flagging early in the second-half is baffling to many fans. In an article for the Express & Star, he is reported to have commented on the use of five substitutions saying:
“For us it is honestly something we’re not prepared to do because we didn’t build our process to focus on five subs.”
While their process may not be built to focus on five substitutes, there must be a way that they can use it to their advantage. There are players on the bench who I’m sure would love the chance to prove themselves and haven’t yet had much of an opportunity.
Everton have only lost one of their five games since the restart, winning two and drawing two. They currently sit in 11th place but will be hoping to push into the top half of the table and maybe even a European place, with anyone in the top eight potentially qualifying for European football depending on the outcome of the appeal on Manchester City’s ban.
Their last game was at home against Southampton on Thursday which they drew 1-1. In the first half, Southampton had a goal ruled out by VAR for offside and James Ward-Prowse missed a penalty before Danny Ings eventually put them ahead. Richarlison then equalised for the Toffees just before half-time from a brilliant cross-field pass from Lucas Digne. Despite starting the game poorly they did manage to regain control in the second half and see the game out.
I think Richarlison is the real danger man for Everton. He is their main goal threat, alongside Dominic Calvert-Lewin, having scored 14 league goals this season, two of those coming since the restart. He has also provided three assists. I think if he can get the right service from his teammates he will be a real threat, especially with his pace and skill in front of goal. It’s worth noting that he was the main threat for Everton last time out against Wolves, scoring two of their three goals.
Wolves v Everton Team News
Pedro Neto has returned to training after missing the last game with a knock and despite dislocating his shoulder against Sheffield United for the fourth time in 23 matches, Adama Traore is expected to be available against Everton.
I think this is a really tough line-up to predict. In my opinion, something needs to change as Wolves have seemed out of ideas lately. I’d like to see a 3-4-3 with Podence or Neto in for Traore because of his shoulder concerns but I could see Nuno starting his trusty 3-5-2 of:
Patricio, Boly, Coady, Saiss, Doherty, Dendoncker, Neves, Moutinho, Johnny, Jimenez, Jota.
For Everton, Theo Walcott and Fabian Delph remain unavailable and Andre Gomes and Mason Holgate will both be a doubt.
Wolves v Everton Head to Head
In the three games they have played against each other since Wolves were promoted from the Championship, there has been a win for each side and one draw. Each game has also been packed full of goals. Everton have a much better overall head to head record against Wolves having won 61 games to Wolves’ 45, and the other 27 ending in draws.
In the reverse fixture earlier in the season, Wolves fell to a narrow 3-2 defeat in front of a packed out crowd at Goodison Park. Richarlison opened the scoring after just five minutes when a defensive miscommunication between Conor Coady and Rui Patricio saw the ball fall into his path. Wolves responded swiftly with Romain Saiss pulling them back level in the 9th minute but it didn’t last long as Alex Iwobi headed home Gylfi Sigurdsson’s cross shortly after. It wasn’t until the 75th minute that Wolves managed to find an equaliser with Raul Jimenez heading home from a well-worked long throw. Sadly, it wasn’t to be for Wolves as Richarlison found the winner with 10 minutes to go. To top it all off, Willy Boly was sent off in extra time for a second bookable offence.
Wolves v Everton Prediction
I think that the last-minute defeat against Sheffield United will have really shaken the team. With only three points separating 6th and 10th place in the table, they know that they can’t afford to make any more mistakes if they want to secure European football again next season.
This game is a tough one to predict for me as it all depends on how Wolves react to their recent slump. I’m hoping they’ll be able to rise from it and that we’ll see more intensity and creativity from them going forward. Everton’s weakness in the past couple of games has been in the midfield and I think this is where the key battles will take place.
I think Wolves will improve on their last performance but I think it will still be a tightly contested game, so I’m going for a 1-1 draw.