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Everton vs Wolves: The Opposition View | August Relegation Six-pointer?

It cannot be too soon for two sides tipped to fight the relegation battle to notch a morale-boosting win

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Everton - Premier League - Molineux Stadium Photo by Barrington Coombs/PA Images via Getty Images

In the Premier League, no worse position exists than last place on the table. Even number 19 is happier than 20. And that particular circumstance is what supporters of both Everton and Wolverhampton have to look forward to this Saturday when the two play at what could be a very disgruntled Goodison Park.

Everton had all the chances in the world to win the first match of the season, and absolutely no hope of winning the second. Will the short season of extremes continue for this bunch of Toffees? Or will this upcoming affair against another struggling side end up being evenly matched or, perhaps, even an easy Blues victory?

Not if Gary O’Neil and Wolves have anything to say about it all. O’Neil was likely unfairly sacked by the Cherries after last season, and has a point to prove - as does a Wolves side that got left by former boss Julen Lopetegui just this past summer for its perceived inequities.

Who will win? Only time will tell.

Prior to Saturday’s affair, we spoke to Thomas Baugh of Wolves Blog:

RBM: First off, Wolves haven’t started this Premier League campaign much better than Everton so far; what is the vibe around the training ground, Molineux and the supporters??

I think supporters are fearful of the season ahead. The club sabotaged itself over the summer with the manager fiasco, and with zero investment in the team to date, it’s hardly a recipe for success. That said, we’ve played well at times during both matches so far and created plenty of good chances. There’s talent in the squad, so hope is not entirely lost.

RBM: What is the team struggling with?

Similar to Everton, we just can’t seem to put the ball in the net. Last season we didn’t create enough chances, but in the two games so far it’s been missing chances that have cost us points.

RBM: Why was Julen Lopetegui a good fit for the stretch run of last year, why did he depart, and what are Gary O’Neil’s strengths and weaknesses in comparison?

Lopetegui just had a lot of pedigree, and it gave everyone a lift, knowing we had an experienced, capable pair of hands. We also signed six players in January to help him keep us up. But he wanted even more players in the summer, and the club aren’t prepared to spend so they just went their separate ways.

The frustrating thing is that it took them so long to get to that point that we wasted the entire summer. Gary O’Neil doesn’t have anything like the same experience and hasn’t been given any time to implement his ideas. Again - not what you’d call a blueprint for success.

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Brighton and Hove Albion - Premier League - Molineux Photo by Bradley Collyer/PA Images via Getty Images

RBM: Who should observers be watching this season on Wolves? Names we might know and players we might not yet?

Matheus Cunha didn’t really do much last season after joining from Atletico Madrid in January, but he’s looked sharp and effective so far in our struggling attack. I’m also desperate to see giant striker Sasa Kalajdzic get some minutes as I think he could be a real difference-maker for us if he remains injury-free.

RBM: What type of business has the side done this summer? Are there any more summer moves waiting for the side before September?

We’ve done nothing (incoming anyway - lots went out) - apart from signing a third-choice keeper and bringing Matt Doherty back on a free. I’m hoping the club will do a bit of business to bolster us at both ends of the pitch before the month is out, but I’m not holding my breath given well-documented financial issues. Our best hope for improvement could be players like Fabio Silva and Kalajdzic, who were loaned out or injured last season but are capable of making an impact.

RBM: How do you expect Wolves to set up on Saturday, and which of the side’s players do you think could cause the Toffees the greatest issues?

Matheus Nunes getting sent off against Brighton was a blow because he’s been performing well and with our squad, he’s a tough player to replace. That might force Gary O’Neil into a change of shape, but if he sticks with the lop-sided 442 it could be something like: Sa; Semedo, Kilman, Dawson, Ait-Nouri; Lemina, Gomes, Sarabia, Neto; Cunha, Silva

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Brighton and Hove Albion - Premier League - Molineux Photo by Bradley Collyer/PA Images via Getty Images

RBM: Finally, what’s your prediction for Saturday’s match?

I’ve got to say, I’m not confident. If it was at Molineux, I’d be feeling more optimistic, but Goodison is a tough place to go, and I’m not sure we’ve got the backbone to resist the crowd and the style of play Dyche offers. I’ll sit on the fence and predict a draw - 1-1 - which I suppose at least gets both teams on the board. Would you take it?

We thank Tom for his time as always!