First home match: EFC vs Wolves Preview

First of all, we don't have to win this one. It'd be nice and we should but even another loss wouldn't be the end of all hopes. But I'm optimistic.

Let's take a look at their most important outs: To be honest, there aren't any. The midfielder Andrew Surman (Norwich) and the forwards Chris Iwelumo (Burnley) and Stefan Maierhofer (Duisburg) are noteworthy but none of them should be a huge loss for the team.


The ins, on the other hand, are more than noteworthy. They bought two defenders, Stephen Hunt and Steven Mouyokolo, from recently relegated Hull City. Jelle van Damme (Anderlecht) and Adlene Guedioura (Charleroi), also defensive-minded players, both moved from Belgium to Wolverhampton. The only new forward is Steven Fletcher, one of Scotland's best and most promising players. He scored 8 goals for Burnley last season and definitely is one of the guys we have to watch out for.

That is, if he even plays. There are only two spots for four great forwards (Fletcher, Sylvan Ebanks-Blake, Kevin Doyle, Andrew Keogh) and nobody knows who manager Mick McCarthy is going to choose. But for now, I expect him to use the same formation that won against Stoke last Saturday.

This is how the pitch is gonna look like if both teams use the same formations again (Everton players in bold):



-----Neville - Jagielka - Distin - Baines-------

-------------Fletcher - Ebanks-Blake-------------


------Osman - Arteta - Cahill - Pienaar---------

----van Damme - Jones - Henry - Jarvis-------


---------Ward - Berra - Craddock - Foley---------




There may be a few changes (Osman -> Billy?, Distin -> Heitinga?) but I'd be surprised if either manager decides to change the formation.

What does that mean for Everton? I think our 4-1-4-1 with the dynamic Arteta-Cahill midfield is gonna dominate possession (we always do but this time even more) because of the 3vs2 situation in the middle (Fellaini, Arteta, Cahill - Jones, Henry). Either Mikel or Tim is gonna have the time and space to provide Saha with passes or run through when (hopefully) Saha's movement makes one of the central defenders follow him and leave a big hole in the middle. The back four should be able to cope with the two strikers and possible midfielders supporting them. Jelle van Damme isn't an offensive-minded player so we can hope for an easy day for Neville.


To sum up, I think we can win this match if our midfield triangle is able to control (we all know they are), our wingers (especially Pienaar since Jarvis is worse defensively than van Damme) are ready to make diagonal runs to exploit the space in the middle and, most importantly, if Saha can be involved instead of isolated.



Let the van Damme jokes begin.

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