Football Features

“Richarlison is sitting on a pedestal” – Winners & losers as Everton edge Wolves in thriller

By charlie.bradley

Published: 16:03, 1 September 2019 | Updated: 20:34, 29 September 2019

Two goals from Richarlison punished a lethargic Wolves as Everton won 3-2 at Goodison park this afternoon.

Despite their unconvincing defending, Wolves equalised twice and kept themselves in the game, but the energetic forward line of the Toffees always looked dangerous and won it late to right their wrongs from Villa park a week before.

Loser: Conor Coady

Your boyhood club is Liverpool, you’re playing at Goodison Park and Jamie Carragher is looking on from the gantry casting a watchful eye over your performance. It’s a scenario that requires many things: concentration, mental resilience, and as skipper, a bit of leadership.

Unfortunately, the former Liverpool youngster did nothing to help his current club Wolves when he played a lousy back pass to keeper Rui Patricio. The lack of communication between the two saw the ball ricochet towards Richarlison, who powered the ball into the top corner just two minutes in.

It was an error that set the tone for the first half of the game: open, regular squandering of possession (from both sides) and goalscoring opportunities in abundance. The cornerstone to both Wolves’ promotion and success in the top tier last season was that back three of Willy Boly, Ryan Bennett and Conor Coady.

Nuno’s side has been infamously difficult to break down, especially for top-six teams. However, today was a rare off day, with crosses from Gylfi Sigurdsson and both Everton full-backs causing problems on numerous occasions.

Winner: Gylfi Sigurdsson

It’s unknown whether David Beckham has ever visited Iceland. If he has, he’s definitely had one or two words with Sigurdsson. The former Swansea midfielder was the source of a ball swerving blitz on Wolves’ 18-yard box.

The right-hand channel proved lucrative for Sigurdsson, taking advantage of Wolves’ isolated wing-backs to deliver for Alex Iwobi’s first Everton goal. It’s his first involvement in a goal this season, but with Moise Kean coming in as a starter, Richarlison’s usefulness in the air and Yerry Mina a threat from set-plays, the Icelandic midfielder could be in for a big season.

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Loser: Nuno Espirito Santo

This season will likely prove very difficult for Nuno. The introduction of Europa League football combined with a squad that isn’t blessed with much depth is a worrying formula.

It can be simplistic to blame midweek games solely for losing performances; Wolves’ narrow shape gave Everton far too much freedom out wide and Patrick Cutrone and Raul Jimenez didn’t show any signs of a deadly partnership. It does have to be said that Everton did seem to have the extra yard in this encounter with Wolves seemingly still recovering from their win against Torino on Thursday.

The defence and midfield options for Wolves are almost unchanged this season, excluding the arrival of Jesus Vallejo from Real Madrid. Depending on Wolves’ success in Europe, the number of games will inevitably take its toll on Nuno’s most important assets and less experienced players will have to be called on.

Winner: Fabian Delph

It wouldn’t be hyperbolic to say Fabin Delph to Everton is one of the smartest pieces of business in Europe’s top leagues this summer. He’s versatile, experienced, technically sound and robust when reclaiming possession.

What’s more, playing for Manchester City under Pep Guardiola has seen him become a midfielder whose vision and understanding of the game is distinctly impressive.

These ingredients were all observable today, as Delph provided the fulcrum from which Sigurdsson, Richarlison and Iwobi expressed themselves. Thanks to the England international, today’s performance contrasted immensely from their 2-0 defeat at Villa park last week, where Morgan Schneiderlin and Andre Gomes were collectively unambitious in possession.

Loser: Patrick Cutrone

His first league start for Wolves was a frustrating one. Cutrone had plenty of sights on goal but failed to capitalise. It’s early days in his Wolves career but it seems clear that he could struggle to play alongside Jimenez.

The Mexican is the obvious physical preference who seems to play best with the creative Diogo Jota alongside him, who can drift wide and drop deep for the ball when required. Two forwards who both want to occupy similar areas never works, and it seemed telling that Wolves equalised as soon as they switched Jimenez’s partner.

Winner: Richarlison

Everton’s summer of recruitment hasn’t stopped Richarlison from sitting proud on the pedestal at Goodison Park. Today proved that he remains their primary threat both in wide areas as well as when drifting inside. He seems to score all kinds of goals. Today wasn’t about his dribbling ability or pace in behind, but his anticipation and intelligent movement.

His first will go underrated due to the goalkeeper’s positioning, but his finish that bounced off the turf and high into the net was the exact strike required to beat Coady, who was waiting on the line looking for redemption.

The winner was a classic striker’s goal, drifting into the box unattended and rising highest to nod home. Kean and Sigurdsson will contribute, but Richarlison will be the catalyst for any success Everton enjoy this season.