Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Everton
It’s been a frustrating Premier League week for both these traditional English greats, as two games each have collectively led to one point and one goal.
So forgive me for being less than optimistic about this mid-day Molineux clash on Sunday providing too many Premier League highlights.
In fairness, the hosts can be more than satisfied with their 2019/20 campaign – whatever happens for the remainder of it.
Since being promoted to the top flight in 2018, the Wolves have enjoyed an impressive two seasons and are an example to many, Everton included, of what can be achieved with shrewd but not limitless investment and astute management – something Everton’s new boss Carlo Ancelotti knows all about of course.
In contrast, the Toffees will not be overjoyed by the way their season has unfolded but will have seen enough during Ancelotti’s first few months at the helm to believe improvement is around the corner.
The veteran Italian coach needs time and perhaps will fare better next year without the distraction of European football.
Realistically, Everton’s outside Euro hopes have all but faded this week anyway. Indeed, the Toffees have won just one of their last four away games.
The only upside since the restart is their defensive record has been much improved, although I expect them to be tested against a Wolves side smarting from two straight defeats without scoring.
Nuno Espirito Santos’ side will also be out to make sure two unwanted records are kept at bay.
They last lost three in a row in November 2018, while they could go three consecutive Premier League matches without scoring for the first time since April 2012.
In their favour, Wolves are unbeaten in 16 of their last 18 matches against the teams in the bottom half of the table.
On the team news front, Wolves winger Adama Traore – a summer transfer target for Liverpool and Manchester City depending on what you read – is expected to start, despite dislocating his shoulder against Sheffield United in midweek.
Fellow midfielder Pedro Neto is set to return after missing the defeat at Bramall Lane with a minor injury.
Everton will rotate their squad, with Andre Gomes in contention after picking up an ankle knock against Southampton.
Mason Holgate will also be assessed but experienced English duo Theo Walcott and Fabian Delph remain out.
Up front is where Wolves have the edge for me with Raul Jimenez scoring 24 goals and setting up 10 in all competitions this season, while Traore has a club record nine Premier League assists to date.
They should lead the Wolves line in this one and to me will make the difference against opponents who may find it hard to be motivated with little to play for as the campaign draws to a close.
Everton have the historical advantage but both sides have enjoyed their own golden periods.
Overall, the Toffees have 61 victories to Wolves’ 45 with a further 27 meetings ending all square.
The very first meeting was back in 1899 when Wolves were 5-0 winners.
Last time out, there were also five goals. But on that occasion in September, Everton edged a thriller when Richarlison netted twice in a 3-2 win at Goodison Park.
Wolves have only won two of the past 13 meetings and last beat Everton on their own soil in May 2004 when Henri Camara and Carl Cort netted in a 2-1 success, although it wasn’t enough to prevent them from being relegated a short time later.
|Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Everton||Over 2.25 @ 2.17|
|July 12, 19:00 (GMT+8)|
Wolves have the advantage both in the table and with the Sbobet Premier League betting odds.
They are priced 1X2 @ 2.13 and Asian Handicap – 0.25 @ 1.81. That compares to the blue half of Merseyside who are available to back 1X2 @ 3.20 and Asian Handicap +0.25 @ 2.09. The draw @ 3.15 looks a decent bet to me.
It’s not my prediction, however.
Nor is a repeat of the corresponding fixture last season on the opening day of the 2018-19 campaign, when the then newly promoted hosts twice came from behind to earn an exciting 2-2 draw and take the edge off a dream debut for Richarlison. Correct score – 2-2 – is available @ 18.50, incidentally.
Everton really lacked adventure at Spurs at the start of the week and weren’t that much better three days later against Southampton so will need to show far more this time.
Wolves were below par themselves when they hosted Arsenal last weekend before going down to a last-gasp defeat at Sheffield United.
I expect both sides to put in an improved showing in this encounter.
|A SHORT EXPLANATION ON HOW OUR () BETS ARE WORTH:|
|= €20 (Highly confident)||= €10 (CONFIDENT)||= €5 (SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT)|
Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.
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