Express & Star

Preview: Everton v Wolves – Will Nuno's team come unstuck against Toffees?

Wolves travel north to take on Everton at Goodison Park.


Wolves correspondent Tim Spiers previews the clash.


On January 19, 11th-placed Wolves were facing a trio of successive matches against the sides in eighth, ninth and 10th.

Two weeks and two wins later they’ve moved up to the Premier League’s position of ‘best of the rest’ and revealed a couple more credentials for that seventh-placed finish which is surely now their main target for the season.

The two victories, over Leicester and West Ham, couldn’t have been more contrasting in terms of drama, control or defensive stability.

After keeping just one clean sheet in 17 matches, a blank against the Hammers was very welcome indeed while, after netting nine goals in three matches it appears they’ve found their shooting boots at the other end – which has been their main weakness this season.

It all sets things up nicely for a trip to Goodison Park tomorrow, where eighth hosts seventh.

Everton boss Marco Silva is under pressure to produce a positive run of results after a run of five defeats in eight in the league, as well as enduring an FA Cup upset at Millwall.

Confidence certainly isn’t a problem in the Wolves camp.

“They’re under a bit of pressure and I’m sure they won’t be looking forward to playing us,” defender Matt Doherty said this week.

“I’m looking forward to going and playing against Everton, it should be a good game.

“Everybody’s pretty confident, we go into Saturday looking to win the game.”

Tuesday set a stand for Wolves, both offensively and defensively.

Goalkeeper Rui Patricio didn’t have a save to make, while at the other end Wolves created chances galore and netted three times.

Captain Conor Coady was impressed.

“It was important we came out and played the way we wanted,” he said

“And it was important we defended well after conceding a few goals, which hadn’t been good.

“We say it’s a game at a time, there’s no real targets, we look at Everton next and it’s as simple as that. We know how tough it is to go there.

“We believe in ourselves. We put ourselves under pressure as a team and we want to perform like that week in, week out.

“It’s important to look at what we’ve done well, improve on it and get back and look forward to Everton.”

The opposition

Everton boss Marco Silva is going into this encounter on a better footing after Tuesday’s win at Huddersfield.

Richarlison’s strike eased the pressure on Silva, following their FA Cup exit at Millwall, but things are not exactly rosy for him.

The heat is still very much on the 41-year-old Portuguese chief, who has overseen a run of three wins from their last 11 Premier League games.

A relieved Silva said after the victory against the Terriers: “It was important to win, the season asks you to show strong character when you are not in your best moment. We showed that character, not just with 10 men.

“We started the game strong and fast. It was not the perfect performance from either team but we deserved the three points.

“It was our obligation to come here and give a strong answer."

It was a quiet transfer deadline day at Goodison Park, with no ins or outs.

Team news

The experienced Leighton Baines went off with a rib injury at Huddersfield and his replacement Lucas Digne was sent off 10 minute later.

If Baines fails to recover, right-sided 21-year-old Jonjoe Kenny is the one in line to fill the void.

Fellow defender Yerry Mina is also a doubt with a foot problem.

Tom Davies returned to midfield at Huddersfield and was their man of the match, so could keep his place. Idrissa Gana Gueye didn't feature amid a big-money bid from PSG which was rejected before deadline day.

For Wolves, Willy Boly returns from suspension and, despite Romain Saiss scoring and helping keep that clean sheet on Tuesday, the French centre-half is likely come back into the XI.

Wolves have no injury concerns and a fully-fit squad available for a first trip to Goodison since 2011.

Likely line ups

Everton (4-1-4-1): Pickford; Coleman, Keane, Zouma, Kenny; Gomes; Bernard, Davies, Sigurdsson, Richarlison; Tosun.

Wolves (3-5-2): Patricio; Bennett, Coady, Boly; Doherty, Neves, Moutinho, Dendoncker, Otto; Jimenez, Jota. Subs: Ruddy, Saiss, Vinagre, Gibbs-White, Cavaleiro, Costa, Traore.

Key players

Everton – Richarlison

The Brazilian scored both of the Toffees’ goals in the reverse fixture – his debut for the club – and has continued to lead the way in front of goal for Marco Silva’s side. He is their top scorer with 11 goals including the winner at Huddersfield on Tuesday night.

Wolves – Joao Moutinho

Has been in stellar form over the past couple of weeks and could be the man to unlock the Everton defence with his sublime passing range.

The bosses

Marco Silva: "Tuesday was an important result and now is the moment for the players prepare for a tough match for us at home with our fans on Saturday."

Nuno Espirito Santo: "We always want to improve. Of course, I say that because it is the ambition that we have. There are always things for us to look at and analyse."


Everton WLLWW

Jan 29: Huddersfield 0 Everton 1 (Richarlison 3)

Jan 26: Millwall 3 (Gregory 45+2, Cooper 75, Wallace 90+4) Everton 2 (Richarlison 43, Tosun 72) *FA Cup

Jan 19: Southampton 2 (Ward-Prowse 50, Digne OG 64) Everton 1 (Sigurdsson 90+1)

Jan 13: Everton 2 (Zouma 61, Calvert-Lewin 90+5) Bournemouth 0

Jan 5: Everton 2 (Lookman 12, Bernard 14) Lincoln City 1 (Bostwick 28) *FA Cup

Wolves WDWLW

Jan 29: Wolves 3 (Saiss 66, Jimenez 80, 86) West Ham 0

Jan 26: Shrewsbury Town 2 (Docherty 46, Waterfall 72) Wolves 2 (Jimenez 75, Doherty 90+3) *FA Cup

Jan 19: Wolves 4 (Jota 4, 64, 90+3, Bennett 12) Leicester 3 (Gray 47, Coady OG 51, Morgan 87)

Jan 14: Manchester City 3 (Jesus 10, pen 39, Coady OG 78) Wolves 0

Jan 7: Wolves 2 (Jimenez 38, Neves 55) Liverpool 1 (Origi 51) *FA Cup

Past five meetings

Aug 11, 2018 (PL): Wolves 2 (Neves 44, Jimenez 80) Everton 2 (17, 67)

May 6, 2012 (PL): Wolves 0 Everton 0

Nov 19, 2011 (PL): Everton 2 (Jagielka 44, Baines 83) Wolves 1 (Hunt 37)

April 9, 2011 (PL): Wolves 0 Everton 3 (Beckford 21, Neville 39, Bilyaletdinov 45)

Aug 21, 2010 (PL): Everton 1 (Cahill 43) Wolves 1 (Ebanks-Blake 74)


Lee Mason (Lancashire)

Experienced referee who has shown 55 yellows (and two reds) in 20 matches this season, including four during Wolves' 2-0 home defeat to Watford.

Match odds

Everton 13/10, draw 23/10, Wolves 11/5