Goodison

Everton 1-0 Wolves Player Ratings

 

Wolves endured defeat in their penultimate game of the season as they lost 1-0 to Everton at Goodison Park. Richarlison’s header early in the second half earned three points for the hosts despite Wolves’ first-half dominance, and Nuno’s side now have to suffer just one more game of a miserable season against Manchester United on Sunday.

 

John Ruddy

 

Brought in for seemingly his last or penultimate Wolves game, with his contract expiring next month. Had very little to do other than pick the ball out of the net, but did make a good save from Calvert-Lewin in the second half. An error-free evening to close out Ruddy’s Wolves career. 6/10. 

 

Willy Boly

 

Started his first game since the Burnley debacle following a spate of long COVID and coped well. Boly dealt well with the threat of Calvert-Lewin and his tackling and distribution was good on the whole. Was withdrawn for Dendoncker on 79 minutes, presumably due to fitness reasons. 6/10. 

 

Conor Coady

 

Had a much quieter evening than his 13-clearance game at Tottenham on Sunday. Recovered well from an early slip that nearly let the Toffees in, but was otherwise pretty much untroubled. Played a couple of trademark long diagonal balls that have been at a premium this campaign. 6/10. 

 

Max Kilman

 

Slotted back into the starting lineup after being an unused sub in North London on Sunday. Wasn’t particularly troubled like his defensive colleagues and popped up with a few touches in offensive situations as Wolves’ set-piece count rocketed up in the first half. 6/10. 

 

Nelson Semedo

 

Received plenty of the ball in the first half and linked up well with Traore down Everton’s right, which hasn’t always been the case this campaign. His attacking output lessened in the second half, just as Wolves’ did, but his defensive play was impressive. 6/10. 

 

Ruben Neves

 

Was reintroduced to the starting XI after being rotated against Spurs. Did a lot of the hard yards in mopping up after Moutinho’s struggles and kept the play ticking over well. Ultimately lacked the killer ball to create opportunities when Wolves needed it most. 6/10.

 

Joao Moutinho

 

It’s not been Moutinho’s finest season by any stretch, but this performance was probably his worst. The 34-year-old looked completely bereft of any composure in midfield, his passes were almost entirely underhit or overhit and his crossing was entirely unsuccessful. It would be quite the surprise if Moutinho starts in a gold shirt next season – his age is certainly showing. 2/10. 

 

Rayan Ait-Nouri

 

Like most of his teammates, Ait-Nouri had a decent, if unspectacular, game. Was a constant presence on the wing, especially in the first half, like Semedo, but lacked a good enough final ball from open play or set pieces. Has certainly enhanced his chances of a permanent move to Molineux in recent weeks. 6/10. 

 

Adama Traore

 

As so often in recent weeks, Traore was Wolves’ best player. Had he not been on the pitch Wolves would have certainly had almost zero attacking threat, with Traore beating players for fun in the first half especially. Should have done better with a first-half effort as the ball fell to him from an Ait-Nouri corner, but his shot was tipped over by Pickford. 7/10. 

 

Fabio Silva

 

Was largely ineffective and anonymous, which may be more the fault of Wolves’ gameplan rather than Silva himself. Had one good opportunity in the first half, but his attempt on the turn was deflected over the bar by Mina. Should get one more start against Manchester United before Raul Jimenez hopefully retakes the starting berth in August, should he get the all-clear. Silva will probably be happy to revert to his bit-part role next season. 5/10. 

 

Morgan Gibbs-White

 

Was one of Wolves’ brightest players in the first 45 minutes, with most attacks going through either him or Traore. Saw a technically brilliant volley saved well by Pickford in the early stages. His impact on the game lessened as he moved from a central position to the left side in the second half but was still hugely unfortunate to be withdrawn for Jose just after the hour mark. 7/10.

 

Willian Jose

 

Replaced Gibbs-White on 68 minutes. As with most of his Wolves career, his movement and first touch were poor. Reports this week that Wanderers will not be signing him on a permanent deal will be welcomed by most of the Molineux faithful. 4/10. 

 

Leander Dendoncker

 

Did nothing of note. N/A.

 

Vitinha

 

As above. N/A.

 

James Wynn is part of the Talking Wolves editorial team – you can follow him on Twitter here.

Everton vs Wolves – Match Preview 

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 Form 

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. 

 

Opposition form 

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. 

 

Team News

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. 

 

Head-to-head 

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. 

 

Prediciton

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      

 

Ciaran Barker is part of the Talking Wolves editorial team – you can follow him on Twitter here.