Wolves 1 – 2 Everton
Everton returned to winning ways in the Premier League and moved back into the Champions League spots with a well-earned victory over Wolves at Molineux.
Michael Keane capped another immense performance at the back with the winning goal, rising to meet André Gomes’s wicked cross from the left and bury a header past Rui Patricio 13 minutes from time.
That goal, the England international’s third of the season, broke the deadlock of the second half and restored the Toffees’ lead which had originally been secured by Alex Iwobi’s sixth-minute opener but was then cancelled out eight minutes later by Ruben Neves.
The result was a triumph for one team playing without a nominal striker against another as Everton lined up without Dominic Calvert-Lewin up front for the first time in the League this season while Wolves continue to operate without Raul Jiminez.
For the visitors, Carlo Ancelotti deployed Gylfi Sigurdsson in what appeared to be a “false nine” role while James Rodriguez roamed behind him, supported by Iwobi on the right flank and it was a formation that clicked nicely early on with a nice-worked move.
Iwobi found James with a ball inside, the Colombian flighted a cross-field pass to Lucas Digne who volleyed it across the penalty area where Iwobi arrived to side-foot neatly past the keeper.
Everton were picked apart, though, down their right side when Rayan Ait-Nouri out-manoeuvred Abdoulaye Doucouré and the teenager drilled the ball across the face of goal where Neves was on hand to volley it inside the post.
The two sides then traded blows as a mistake by Digne let Pedro Neto in but Fabio Silva’s volley in front of goal was saved by Jordan Pickford while, at the other end, Iwobi and Rodriguez played a one-two which put the Nigerian in but his shot was also tame enough for Patricio to smother.
While it remained a fairly open game between two technical teams lacking a genuine focus up front, goalmouth action was at a premium in the second half but it was Ancelotti’s first substitution that ultimately paid dividends.
Gomes stepped off the bench to replace the industrious Tom Davies at a time with 25 minutes to go where Everton appeared to have lost their way a bit and after they had survived a scare when Neves’s dipping volley just cleared Pickford’s bar, they put together another nice move that led to the goal.
Iwobi and James combined again with another neat exchange of passes that ended with the former’s shot being charged down by Conor Coady and the ball going behind from a corner. That delivery was glanced away by the Wolves defence but was collected by Gomes who swung it back in and Keane did the rest with a well-placed header.
A handball by Doucouré just outside the box had Evertonian hearts in mouths as Neves lined up a direct free-kick but, thankfully, his effort clipped the outside of the post and it was then just a case of Ancelotti’s men closing the match out to wrap up another three points.
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