Away Days; Wolves

It’s back. The Premier League season was finally upon us after a summer of England shitting out of the World Cup and Everton ruining the transfer window and causing the gobshite, Paul Merson to have a meltdown on live TV. 6 of us in the car (1 in the boot), made our way down to the West Midlands on the first of 19 away trips, to take on last year’s Championship winners, Wolves. I knew it wasn’t going to be a bad day when we found a pub with Estrella on tap.

4 deadline day signings for the blues took my, and many others excitement levels for the new season from a 3 to a solid 8 or 9. Marcel Brands working his magic behind the scene and shipping out all the shite we never needed in the first place and Marco Silva working his charm and getting the players he set out to get, including 3 Barcelona players and Brazilian playmaker Bernard on a free.

Our opponents, newly promoted Wolves, had signed half the population of Portugal and were strongly tipped for a top half finish by many. However I must admit that I’d only heard of about 4 of their starters, one of which was almost former Everton player Joao Moutinho, who’s signed for us 3 times without actually signing.

Our line-up reeked of last season but we all knew that in a month’s time it would be a completely different starting 11 so I wasn’t worrying about the prospect of having to endure another 90 minutes of a Jagielka and Keane partnership. New boy Richarlison, who ruined the transfer market, was the only new signing to start this one.

Despite Wolves having most of the early possession, they didn’t actually do anything with it apart from switch the ball from left to right and make themselves look boss (they weren’t). After Richarlison picked up a booking for retaliation, he earned his team a free kick a few minutes later and added to the shithousery by rolling round the pitch. Baines pinged a delicious cross into a dangerous area and as the ball was bouncing around everywhere, Richarlison prodded it home sending the 3000 blues into raptures. Waste of money though remember, lads.

Then came the most controversial part of the game. A terrible touch from Jagielka invited Jota to run on to the loose ball but before he did so, Jagielka tackled Jota, winning the ball but also taking out the man. What looked like a half decent tackle was deemed dangerous by the referee and the captain was shown a straight red card. I personally don’t think that it was a sending off, nor did Marco Silva and it’s a very split decision on social media. Alan Shearer thought it was a red but Ian Wright didn’t. Whether it was or not we were down to 10 men and up against it for the remainder of the game. Holgate replaced the faultless Sigurdsson but it was a smart and sensible move from the new boss.

Ruben Neves scored the resulting free kick but there was a lot of controversy surrounding this too. The distance from where the original foul was committed and where the free kick was taken was a full 5 yards. I swear that’s half the reason referees carry that vanishing spray. Take nothing away from the free kick though. That was probably the worst time to concede; just before half time. If we can go in there 1-0 up we’ll have time to regroup.

The second half understandably consisted of Wolves having the majority of the ball but again, doing absolutely nothing with it but I felt comfortable with our defence for once. Holgate and Keane didn’t put a foot wrong all game, so my statement in the first paragraph is proved wrong. Coleman didn’t stop running and Baines is still fuckin sound. We had a fair few chances considering we had the lesser man, Tosun testing the Wolves keeper and Walcott fluffing his lines from a Richarlison knock down.

Everton retook the lead when a lovely little move down the left. A Baines nutmeg and a lovely little lay off from Tosun resulted in Richarlison slotting home into the far corner from 15 yards, a strike Thierry Henry in his prime would’ve been proud of. You could just see the confidence oozing through his veins.

I thought we were going to see the game out but 10 minutes from time an inch perfect cross from Neves was headed home by Raul Jimenez to make it all square for the second time in the game. However we ended the game the better team and could’ve nicked a winner if Coleman had been greedier and not tried to square the ball to Niasse. The final whistle went and considering we were down to 10 men for more than a half, a point is a decent result against a half decent Wolves side. What’s even more positive is that we were clearly the better side, even with the lesser man.

Give it a few weeks and get the new lads bedded in and we’ll be a big threat, not only to teams around us but to the ‘top 6’. We could be a dark horse this year, when you look at our best squad. Exciting times ahead for Marco Silva’s men.

Everton’s on the up and up

(@joewhitehead__)