Wolves returned to their best at Molineux on Sunday to comprehensively beat Everton and regain sixth place in the Premier League. They were the better team from start to end and could easily have won by more than the three goal margin.
Writer: DJ Wolves
After a below par and toothless performance at Sheffield last week, Nuno made some changes to the starting eleven in an effort to get more happening in the final third. Moutinho, Traore and Jota were all relegated to the bench with Dendoncker restored to midfield, Neto starting on the right of the attack and Daniel Podence given his first start on the left.
Podence was the outstanding player in the first half, constantly causing the Everton defence problems with his tricky direct running. And midway through the half he cut through the Toffees defence and sent on a powerful shot to the near post which saw Pickford get down well to save. And the keeper had to come to the rescue again soon after when after some head tennis in the Everton box the ball fell to Jimenez who juggled the ball back to goal before sending in an overhead kick.
Wolves got the breakthrough in added time at the end of the first half when more trickery from Podence saw him beat two Everton defenders before being felled by Digne, and Jimenez stepped up to calmly put away the penalty. And within a minute of the restart they doubled their lead. Neto sent in an inswinging free kick from the right the saw Dendoncker score with a glancing header.
The changes to the starting eleven had left Wolves with a strong bench and when Neto picked up an injury Jota was introduced to the left of the attack. But it was Podence again who nearly extended the lead when his strong shot went through Pickford with the keeper just recovering in time to stop the ball going fully over the line. Then Jota got clean through with the keeper to beat but just lost his footing at the key moment. The third goal was coming and it arrived in brilliant fashion. Neves won the ball in midfield and hit an inch perfect 60 yard pass to send Jota through on the left and this time the striker smashed the ball first time past Pickford.
A fourth goal wouldn’t have flattered Wolves and it should have come with five minutes left. Patricio caught a cross and hit an early ball downfield to again send Jota away. The striker produced a perfect cross to find Traore who with an open goal gaping in front of him, hit the bar.
Patricio 7 – caught some crosses but had a quiet game until a fine pass saw him play his part setting up the third goal.
Boly 8 – slight drop in standard recently but right back to his best here.
Coady 8 – another who wasn’t at his best at Sheffield but normality resumed here.
Saiss 7 – not troubled defensively and had a sound game.
Doherty 7 – did some good work up and down the right flank.
Dendocker 7 – a rare start in a central midfield two but made it work and took his goal well.
Neves 9 – ran the midfield, did some good defensive work when needed, and his pass for the 3rd goal was exquisite.
Jonny 7 – gave Wolves good balance on the left.
Neto 7 – justified his selection with many positive runs at the Everton defence and got an assist for the 2nd goal. Great prospect.
Jimenez 7 – lead the line well, great overhead kick effort and took his penalty so calmly.
Podence 9 – super debut and was the best player on the pitch for the first hour.
Jota made a real impact from the bench and took his goal really well. Traore also made his mark when coming on Podence. Moutinho replaced Dendoncker late on.
A much needed three points for Wolves to maintain their top six position and it was a game they dominated from start to finish. Just three more league games left now. Burnley away on Wednesday won’t be easy as the Clarets are near best in the league on current form. Then it’s Palace at home on Monday 20th before the final game against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on the 26th.