A woeful Everton side were blown away 1-3 by their guests as Wolves continue their quest for Europa League qualification.
An early spell of pressure paid off for Wolves as Leighton Baines gave away a penalty after seven minutes which Ruben Neves slotted away. Their success continued as they repeatedly exploited Everton’s slack defence, with the Toffees looking distinctly off the pace for the duration of the contest at Goodison.
Nuno Espírito’s side went on to create more chances but it was Everton who struck next. Andre Gomes grabbed his first Everton goal after driving through the middle of the park, receiving Cenk Tosun’s flick to feet and after getting the ball under control he unleashed a rocket, firing brilliantly past fellow Portuguese player Rui Patricio.
However, Marco Silva’s sides efforts to draw level were undone just before the half time whistle. One of their weaknesses were exploited as they failed to defend set-pieces once more. Joao Moutinho’s cross from around 35-yards out found the head of an unmarked Raúl Jiménez who nodded the ball into the bottom corner.
Everton failed to get going in the second half and once more it was the visitors who capitalised at Goodison. More slack play put Everton on the back foot as Seamus Coleman’s miss placed pass saw Diogo Jota take the ball into the Toffees box. His attempt at goal was blocked by Kurt Zouma but bounced straight into the path of Leander Dendoncker who volleyed the ball into the roof of the net to make it 1-3.
Wolves deserved to take all three points as they outclassed their opposition. The most entertainment the Everton fans experienced was a pitch invasion from a black cat that halted play for five minutes. However, Everton failed to improve and Marco Silva’s luck may have simply run out.
Is Everton’s defence the problem?
In the first 45 minutes, Everton’s back four were repeatedly undone. The second Wolves goal highlighted the Toffees inability to defend from set-pieces as they left Jiménez unmarked.
Before Ruben Neves departed due to injury, his class showed. He placed a number of long balls over the top of the opposition’s defence and slack man marking and a sheer lack of pace saw Michael Keane or Zouma struggle to keep up with the pace of Wolves strike partnership.
Everton’s defensive weaknesses were exposed against Millwall in the FA Cup and Wolves did the same again this time out. Everton have failed to prepare for their opposition and have not improved at defending set-pieces.
Whilst they look capable of scoring goals, they simply cannot keep clean sheets. With Lucas Digne suspended and Leighton Baines having to leave the pitch once more due to a rib injury, Everton now look like they have issues in fielding a full-strength defence. Something that they desperately need whilst experiencing such poor form.
Are Wolves the surprise of the season?
Wolves now sit in 7th in the Premier League after today’s win. Beating Everton means they leave them five points behind them and have created a gap between themselves and the mid-table bunch in the hunt for a Europa League place.
Not many will have expected Wolves to have done so well this season. With Fulham and Cardiff coming up from the Championship with them, the difference in class has been made clear. Whilst they find themselves in a relegation battle, Wolves investment has created a stable Premier League side.
If Wolves gain a Europa League spot this season they must be considered as one of the teams of the year in the League, as no-one would have expected a newly promoted side to qualify for European football in 2019/2020.
A brilliant duo up front for Wolves
Arguably, Jota and Jiménez could have both taken the Man of the Match award. They ran Everton’s defence ragged and exploited their weaknesses. They were quick and energetic and were key to their early success.
Raúl’s goal marked a strong performance by him individually and these two attackers are key to the remainder of Wolves season. If they can keep scoring goals, they will surely be favourites to finish seventh.
Is Marco Silva’s time up?
Everton have now only won two games at Goodison Park since November 24th, and the full-time whistle was not only met by a chorus of boos by what remained of the Everton faithful but also showed a very frustrated look on the majority of his players.
They were humiliated by direct league competition and lacked any kind of dynamism going forward, looking defensively chaotic, as Silva’s side never looked to be in the game other than their first-half goal.
Owner Farhad Moshiri has already expressed his disappointment after a poor Christmas period, and Everton do not look to have improved. Moshiri’s patience may now have run out and Marco Silva may not have long left as the Everton head coach.
Espírito key to Wolves success – but will he stay?
The Portuguese man has been excellent since his appointment at Molinuex. He saw his side lift the Championship trophy and has now created a strong Premier League side in his first attempt. Not many managers have been more impressive than Nuno this season.
This means that teams will inevitably come looking at a superb manager. He was linked with Manchester United after Jose Mourinho was dismissed and without a doubt big teams will enquire about acquiring his services.
It is may come down to his passion for his project at Wolves and desire to take them further as a Premier League club that sees him stay.
Man of the Match – Raúl Jiménez
Raúl was a standout in the front line and made a potentially tricky game for his side looking simple. His goal and general menacing nature meant that along with Jota, Everton’s defence had a handful to deal with all game.