Final whistle, Everton lose 2-1 at Wolves. Third defeat in a row. Questions will be asked of Benitez’ formation and tactics, especially when he was well aware of how to fix the porous midfield. That will not excuse the Everton players for putting in a tepid showing though, especially to start this game.
90+5’ - Cross into the box is overhit, goal kick and likely game over.
90+4’ - Godfrey wins a throw-in on the left, but nothing comes of it.
90’ - Needless to say, but had Everton played the first half like they did the second, they would not be losing this game at Wolves. Slow starters.
89’ - Wolves are doing everything they can to run out the clock here. Meanwhile Salomon Rondon has come on for Gray, who has looked gassed for some time now.
There will be five-plus minutes added on.
85’ - Driving run from Godfrey sets off a chance for Coleman, shot blocked for a corner.
Townsend’s corner is perfect, Gordon meets it and Sa does ever so well to save that!!
83’ - Some lovely football from Gordon there. His direct running and confidence is creating openings for the Blues.
Looks like Jonjoe Kenny will be coming on because Holgate has been holding his calf.
81’ - Wolves are not really looking comfortable here, Everton do need to get the ball and sustain some possession in the opposing half however.
78’ - Everton’s second change will be Anthony Gordon replacing Iwobi. The Blues will need his pace.
75’ - Penalty to Wolves! No! Holgate was completely beaten for pace and hacked at his man, Atkinson points at the spot but VAR corrects him, the tackle was just on the edge of the box. The freekick is poor and Everton survive.
68’ - Close shave for the Blues. A lovely flowing move finds Trincao with the ball in the box, Godfrey’s tackle is poor and suddenly the forward has the whole goal to shoot at and somehow puts it wide.
66’ - GOAL! The Blues get one back! Won’t say it was coming, but Everton have certainly ramped up the pressure and deserve it.
After some sustained possession, a Godfrey daisycutter comes back off Keane to Iwobi, and the Nigerian forward’s first time shot gets by the goalie! 2-1 to the hosts.
Everton cut the lead in half. #WOLEVE pic.twitter.com/59hPYv30ZH— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) November 1, 2021
60’ - Blues caught out by a quick counter, Wolves have numbers and Raul’s snap header goes off the outside of the post.
59’ - Good pressure from the Blues there with a couple of crosses coming into the box in succession.
55’ - Mix-up between Sa and Coady almost allows Richarlison in!! The ball is just not bouncing Everton’s way tonight.
53’ - Iwobi inexplicably conceding a corner when he could have cleared it anywhere else. It’s as if we don’t have issues defending setpieces. Iwobi helps clean his own mess.
51’ - Delph’s presence in the middle helping the Blues hold the ball.
Townsend finds Gray in space and his shot is blocked for a corner. Should have shot quicker, but that was much, much better
47’ - Wolves make a mess of playing out the back, and Coady almost heads into his own net from a Townsend cross.
The corner is cleared easily.
46’ - Second half is underway, Fabian Delph has come on for Gbamin who looked pretty aimless for long periods.
Halftime Thoughts - Wolves watched the last fifteen minutes that Watford played against Everton, and did it all over again. Everton apparently were not prepared for that. Shameful.
45+2’ - There’s the whistle, the Blues have been horribly outplayed. Wolves will be wondering how it’s only 2-0.
45’ - Much better since that tweak, and now Richarlison wins a freekick. Into the box, Iwobi heads on and Holgate - all alone - and hoofs it lackadaisically over! He was just offside, but really should have done better.
Two minutes added on.
40’ - Everton have moved into a 4-5-1 to fill that midfield hole, Iwobi wide right and Gray wide left.
37’ - Chance! A Wolves miscue allows Gray a clear shooting chance and he drags his shot horribly wide. Oof, a goal there would have been a lifeline.
32’ - Suicidal backpass from Ben Godfrey to dead space between Holgate and Pickford, and Raul is quickest to the ball, neatly chips it over the goalie and it’s 2-0, just like that. At this point the question has to be how many we let in.
Make it 2! Raul Jimenez puts Wolves up 2-0 on Everton. #WOLEVE pic.twitter.com/HGxbYtA9NB— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) November 1, 2021
What a finish!— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) November 1, 2021
Raul Jimenez latches onto Ben Godfrey's under-hit back pass and makes it 2-0 to Wolves shortly after Max Kilman gave them the lead!
Watch #WOLEVE live on Sky Sports Premier League pic.twitter.com/M8RBxu2G4a
27’ - Coleman sliding tackle blocks a Raul shot. He’s livid at his team and kicks the ball away in frustration.
Former non-league player Max Kilman gets away from Townsend and heads down and into the far corner, no chance Pickford. Wolves lead 1-0. Setpiece goal again, to no one’s surprise.
This one counts! NOW Wolves go up 1-0 at home. #WOLEVE pic.twitter.com/nNSulyM5B3— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) November 1, 2021
22’ - Allan wins a freekick off Raul. Gray to put it into the box, cleared easily.
19’ - Holgate tugs back Trincao and is lucky to not get a yellow card for that. Freekick is in prime position for both Neves and Trincao, Neves lifts it over the wall and the bar.
18’ - Godfrey snuffs out a counter and Wolves quickly change direction to the other side, and a Jimenez shot is blocked and falls harmlessly to Pickford. All Wolves so far, no sign of holding the ball for the Blues.
15’ - Goal Wolves. It was coming. Poorly cleared ball and the hosts take advantage of the ball pinging around.
No wait! Jimenez pass was to Hee-Chan who was clearly offside. A let-off for the Blues.
Wolves break through! #WOLEVE pic.twitter.com/945w5mmzEZ— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) November 1, 2021
14’ - Save again! Richarlison fouled in the middle, no foul given and it results in a chance for Trincao, Pickford parries very well for a corner. Pickford comes out for this and punches well clear.
11’ - Now Gbamin is caught in possession just outside the box but the defence can mop up.
9’ - SAVE! Wolves win a corner on the Everton right, half-cleared, falls to Ruben Neves who fires through a crowd and Pickford parries very well. The ball falls into the crowd and Coady is first to it but Gbamin can hoof it away!
5’ - Conor Coady almost finds Trincao streaking through the Everton backline, Jordan Pickford gathers.
3’ - As anticipated, it’s a 4-2-3-1 with Iwobi - Gray - Townsend behind Richarlison.
1’ - Everton get the game underway at a loud Molineux.
Starting lineups - Rafa Benitez has rung the changes, with Tom Davies, Anthony Gordon and Salomon Rondon all dropping to the bench, and Richarlison, Jean-Philippe Gbamin, Alex Iwobi and Mason Holgate all making the lineup. The rumours of Lucas Digne having picked up an injury appear true with the left back not even on the bench.
️ "To be sure we can create chances and take our chances."— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) November 1, 2021
Rafa Benitez says it's important #EFC stay compact and play well as a team today as they look and bounce back from last weeks defeat to Watford.
Watch #WOLEVE live on Sky Sports Premier League pic.twitter.com/9J3Nobj7uE
Somewhat surprised to see Lage keep Willy Boly, Leander Dendoncker and Adama Traore on the bench, but won’t complain about it.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin is on Sky’s Monday Night Football segment talking about his injury setback, the club and more.
Your team to face Wolves! #WOLEVE #COYB pic.twitter.com/vwcZVVkIME— Everton (@Everton) November 1, 2021
Here's how we line-up to take on @Everton. #WOLEVE— Wolves (@Wolves) November 1, 2021
The last couple of weeks have certainly brought Evertonian’s hopes crashing back to the ground after a flying start to the Rafa Benitez era had us dreaming of a possible European berth next season.
The long and varied injury list has caught up to the Blues, and cruelly exposed once again that apart from a handful of players who are consistently Premier League calibre - two of whom were signed this summer - Everton remain a midtable side capable in equal measures of playing well and playing horribly.
Benitez will be without key men Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Abdoulaye Doucoure who could both return after the November international break, but Richarlison should be in line for a start. The manager’s biggest challenge this past week however would have been to instill a modicum of confidence back in a side that collapsed dramatically at home when leading with barely a dozen minutes to play.
If the Blues can respond to that adversity with a solid performance tonight no matter the result, then there could be some signs of hope for the fixtures ahead. However, if we see the same weak-willed showing as the closing stages of the game last weekend, then we might as well start making alternate plans for how to spend our Saturdays for the rest of yet another lost season.
Competition: Premier League Matchday 10
Date and start time: Monday, November 1st at 1:00 p.m. PT / 4:00 p.m ET / 8:00 p.m. GMT
Stadium: Molineux Stadium, Wolverhampton, England, United Kingdom
Weather: 43°F/6°C, partly cloudy, 4% chance of precipitation, 5 mph winds
How to Watch/Listen
TV: NBCSN, Universo - United States; Sky Sports Premier League, Sky Sports Main Event, Sky Ultra HD - United Kingdom; DAZN - Canada, beIN Sports Premium 1, SuperSport Premier League ROA, SuperSport MaXimo 1, RMC Sport 1, Canal+ Sport 3 Afrique
Radio: evertontv, BBC Radio 5 Live
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Gamethread: Live blog above starting about one hour before game time
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Information from LiveSoccerTV.com
Matches between the two sides are often entertaining affairs, especially since Wolves returned to the top flight and immediately snatched Everton’s mantle of being the best side outside the top six. The Toffees did the double over Wolves last season, winning 2-1 behind closed doors at Molineux with Alex Iwobi and Michael Keane nabbing the goals, and then snatching an inconsequential 1-0 result with just over six thousand fans at Goodison at the end of the season.