Having left over half of our transfer dealings until deadline day (and even the day after that in Zouma’s case), Everton were left to field pretty much the same side that lost 3-2 to Valencia in the final pre-season game, with just Jordan Pickford coming in for Maarten Stekelenberg in goal.
There was an impressive debut brace from Richarlison, as well as plenty of debate to be had surrounding Jagielka’s first straight red card of his career, but the Blues came away with a deserved point following an exciting encounter at the Molineux.
But what do the numbers tell us? Have things changed under Marco Silva? Find out below.
5 Shots on Target!
More shots on target than in 20 of Allardyce’s 24 games
Welcome back to Everton, shots.
Under Sam Allardyce, Everton averaged a measly 3.08 shots on target per game. The lack of emphasis on attacking football and the woeful level of chance creation was one of the key factors in Big Sam’s departure.
And despite facing a tough Wolves side away from home and with only 10 men for more than a half, Marco Silva’s side managed five shots on target – scoring two of them.
With Wolves controlling possession, Everton looked to play on the counter with pace and in numbers – doing so effectively – with Walcott, Richarlison and Tosun looking a dangerous and pacey combination.
Baines Still Key for Everton
Baines touched the ball more than any other player in Blue
Many have pointed out that Leighton Baines, now 33, is a fading force in Royal Blue and one that needed replacing at left-back this summer.
The Blues brought in a younger model in Lucas Digne last week, but Baines showed the Barcelona acquisition that it won’t be an easy task taking the Kirkby full-back’s place in the side.
Baines had 84 touches of the ball during the game (20 more than any other player in Blue) and played a key part in both of Richarlison’s goals, while completing an excellent 84.6% of his passes.
His pace may not be what it was, but Baines was never about speed. He’s always been a clever full-back, with an eye for a pass and wicked delivery – something he again demonstrated at the Molineux.
There’s still life in the old dog yet and it should be a grand old battle for the left-back spot this season.
Richarlison is a Handful
Debutant was the most fouled player on the pitch
As well as scoring a brace on his debut, Richarlison was also the most fouled player on the pitch at Wolves, picking up three free-kicks.
It’s nothing new for Richarlison, of course. He was the most fouled player in the Premier League last season (95 fouls). There’s no doubt that this lad is a handful for defenders.
First Half Goals
Under Allardyce, Everton scored just 6 first half goals in 24 games
There’s a theme here...
Everton were tough to watch last season – but especially in the first half under Sam Allardyce when we often fell behind.
In Allardyce’s 24 league games, Everton scored just six times in the first half. And it wasn’t a problem he inherited, with Koeman and Unsworth seeing a combined eight first half goals in just 14 games.
Marco Silva isn’t here for a war of arbitration though, with Richarlison finishing off an excellent Leighton Baines delivery to put the Blues in front in the first half.
Despite playing on the counter with 10 men, there’s no doubt that the Blues looked a lot more threatening against Wolves than they did at any point last season.
Shot stopper completed just 28.6% of his passes
Jordan Pickford returned for Everton having not featured at all in pre-season, and it was evident.
Having starred for England at the World Cup (where he averaged a 66.4% pass completion rate), Pickford was regularly forced onto his unfavoured right foot at the Molineux with few of his clearances reaching a Blue shirt.
Distribution is normally one of Pickford’s biggest strengths, but the Blues’ number one completed just 28.6% of his passes – compared to his average of 44.5% last year.
However, last season’s player of the year gave Evertonian’s a reminder of his ability by pulling off a key one-on-one save on the hour mark.
There’s nothing to worry about with this cat between the sticks.
All-in-all, it was a satisfactory start to the season, and a performance on which Evertonians can hope to improve on as the new signings are integrated into the squad in the coming weeks.