By Zach Hobson
Everton’s opening Premier League games have been somewhat of a disappointment to most fans who, considering the signings the club has made, would have expected more.
Their attacking contingent is the same as last season, but they have only managed one goal between them in three games. The last League match also called into question Everton’s defence after they conceded two sloppy goals against Aston Villa, leaving many fans with a sour taste in their mouths.
Despite this early trepidation there are many positives to worry undefeated Wolves. Everton have only conceded two League goals so far and have managed two clean sheets, putting them on par with Wolves and Crystal Palace for the fewest conceded. Everton have also not conceded a goal at Goodison since the defeat to Manchester City in February. Manager Marco Silva has found a trusted centre back in Michael Keane and hopes that a slightly underwhelming debut season for Yerry Mina was a blip in his Everton career.
Although the Aston Villa loss left many fans asking questions about Everton’s away form, Silva’s time at the club has shown the team’s confidence when they are playing in front of over 30,000 roaring blues.
Everton’s forward line, however, is a larger concern. Both of last season’s top scorers, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Richarlison, had registered three goals and one assist between them by this point last season. Despite both making three starts, neither has registered a Premier League assist or goal so far.
Silva’s latest two signings Alex Iwobi and Moise Kean have been limited to substitute appearances and have looked positive. The Carabao Cup match against Lincoln on Wednesday allowed the new signings some much-needed game time to play alongside Silva’s key players and it paid off. Richarlison, Iwobi and Sigurdsson all scoring represented a major attacking breakthrough and one the players hope to take into Sunday’s game.
Wolves’ power is represented perfectly in the quick transition from defence to attack. Ruben Neves and Joao Moutinho are the key to this 3-5-2 system allowing the wing backs to quickly move into attack and provide service to Raul Jiménez and Diogo Jota. Everton’s loss of Idrissa Gueye means the battle in midfield will be much more open and potentially will be in Wolves’ favour. Everton must prove their critics wrong by both retaining a strong midfield structure whilst moving the ball at pace.
Everton fans will no doubt get behind the team despite many continuing to voice concern against Silva. Several have still not forgiven him for Everton’s 3-1 home defeat to Wolves last season, and, given Nuno Espirito Santo’s side have not won a Premier League game so far this season, many feel the stage is set for an away win.
At home Everton will take confidence from their fans and if they are able to play like they did against Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United then Wolves will face a tough game. If, however, the same blunt attack faces a strong Wolves backline, Everton are in for a long and difficult afternoon.