Stan Cullis

Wolves 2-1 Everton Match Report


Following an eight-day lay-off for Wolves, we hosted Everton back at Molineux on a windy Monday evening. After the overall feeling of disappointment from the Leeds result, Wolves rectified the lack of intensity with an onslaught of attacking movement, partnered with some of the classiest individual performances to date. This resulted in a 2-1 victory over Rafa Benitez’s men, taking a fourth win from five games, firing us up the table into seventh spot.


Once again, with the injury to Marcal, Rayan Ait-Nouri had another opportunity to make the left wing-back position his own, and Trincao was chosen ahead of Adama Traore. Additionally, Ruben Neves entered the fray, replacing Leander Dendoncker after his below par performance against Leeds. A first half of dominance was to come, demonstrating fluidity and threat in attacking portions of the pitch, possibly a product of the high line that Lage opted for. The midfield two oozed class from the first minute, highlighting shades of season 18/19, Neves in particular paying homage to a prime Andrea Pirlo, and not just by his hair. Balance has well and truly been restored with Ait-Nouri’s return, if anyone doubted the Algerian before, best believe they’re hiding now. Another top class display from the 20 year-old, combining progressive runs with stubborn defensive work, utilised perfectly by Bruno Lage, with Semedo to transform our back five into a midfield four within seconds. Hwang and Francisco ran relentlessly during the first 45 minutes, pressing effectively and forcing countless mistakes from the Everton back line. The link up between the front three was sublime, every backheel found a man in old gold, with enough of them to create a five-minute compilation quite comfortably. 


However, there is an evident reason as to why there was a stark difference in performance when comparing Everton to Leeds. That difference being pressure, Benitez’s Everton looked like Wolves last season, sitting back, and waiting on a mistake, but built off the foundations of stability and compactness. Compare this to the ‘all guns blazing’ approach that Bielsa drills into his Leeds side, it’s evident that Lage is yet to discover a method to combat a relentless press. Therefore, Everton played into our hands last night, allowing our technically gifted players to place their stamp on the game, pegging the Toffees back for 45 minutes. Despite this, credit must be given to Lage, as Wolves finally look like a team that can break opposition defences, after three great performances to start the season and no goals to show for it, we truly have our tails up now.


Key moments


Hwang Hee-Chan was denied his fifth goal of the season after a tight VAR call after 15 minutes, but a dominant Wolves remained on top. Ait-Nouri was the one chosen to deliver the corner shortly afterward, and the influential decision to change the style of delivery paid dividends as Kilman netted his first for the Wanderers. No one deserved it more than the player of the season so far (arguably). Five minutes later, a back pass from Godfrey was pounced on by Jimenez, who sumptuously dinked the England number 1, Jordan Pickford, placing Bruno’s men into a commanding position going into half time. The second half saw Iwobi grab an equaliser for Everton following an initial block from Godfrey’s effort, though it wouldn’t be enough to stop Wolves taking all three points. 


Man of the match – Raul Jimenez

Possibly the hardest game to choose a man of the match from this season, every player gave 100% and no one made any noticeable errors apart from Sa’s heart attack moment in the second half. He won’t get the plaudits but I thought Romain Saiss was brilliant, when others shy away from 50/50’s, he will fight for the badge every week, without fail. A special mention should go to Ait-Nouri, who was immense too, really cementing his spot in the starting eleven for weeks to come. But my man of the match is Raul Jimenez, his work rate off the ball, delicious link-up play and his first goal back at Molineux is too much to be overlooked. The perfect number 9 performance, Si Senor still has it. 



It’s impossible to expect any side to sustain the press displayed in the first half, which is why energy levels fell during the second half. Players became tired, and Everton managed to find spaces and opportunities that weren’t available for the first 45 minutes. To battle this problem, the substitutions from Lage must come earlier, making the first change after 79 minutes was too late, and against better sides, we would have been punished. But the first half tactics were perfect and provided a safe cushion. Overall, a cracking night under the lights, more of the same, please.


Sam Beeken is part of the Talking Wolves editorial team – you can follow him here



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.




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. 



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      


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