* All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widget, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change.
Psychologically, this game between Everton and Wolves can have quite the impact. Everton have a game in hand on the sides above them, and failing to win removes that comfort of playing City and being able to accept defeat. Winning that game in hand puts them a point off the summit, and while they probably won’t quite believe they can win the league, they’ll be right in there in the battle to land a top-four spot.
Wolves? Well, despite being just seven points behind the Toffees, there’s a sense that if they don’t win here, they’ll be cut adrift of that top-end tier of teams competing for European places – with the biggest achievement possible being capped at an inconvenient Europa League spot mid-pandemic.
There’s a handful of teams who are struggling to keep pace with those who aren’t a huge pile better than them. To save face, Wolves may need to take the points here – or at very least, a point with a performance that can show they’re capable of matching the Southamptons of the world. Bet you didn’t see that sentence coming six months ago.
Tuesday 20:15 – Wolves v Everton
Sky Sports Arena / Sky Sports Premier League
If you look through Everton’s results, you’ll notice a common theme. The games in which they’ve landed disappointing results have largely come against teams who have physical midfielders and have won that battle early on. This lends itself to the streaky stereotypes we fall back on frequently with Everton, but there’s an essence of truth in it. Had their loss to West Ham been followed up with a battle against the likes of Newcastle or Man United, I’d worry for them.
But, Wolves are flimsy in the middle of the park and won’t offer much resistance, or opportunity for Everton to get half their XI on bookings inside the first half, neutralising their efforts in winning possession back. In how many games this season have Ancelotti’s men gone on to win after not being the better side? None is the answer. Luckily, Wolves will afford them the chance to dominate and they should oblige.
There are two very different sides to Everton. There is Everton from the first quarter of the season, and there’s The Toffees over the last seven games. There has been two or fewer goals in six of those seven encounters, with Everton taking 13 points from a possible 18. That is now their blueprint, whether we like it or not, because Ancelotti knows that structure in a season where everyone’s going somewhat maverick will see them overachieve.
As a contrast, Wolves are trying to get back to that. In their first seven games of the season, they took 13 points from 15 available in games with under three goals. Their only losses came in games with more than three goals. Both sides will aim to keep it tight.
That, of course, lends to the idea that half-time will see these two locked in a frustrating stalemate. Given the tentative nature of their most recent results, it will hardly be a shock to see the focus be placed on winning the game in the second half.
- Paddy’s Hall of Fame: Last-gasp goal sees punter pocket £2k off £5 fourfold
- Football tips: Our PP News 16/1 daily double for Tuesday
- Football tips: Wilson to fire Newcastle past Sheffield United on Tuesday
- Charlie Nicholas on getting £10k to pose in his pants & drinking with George Best
- Charlie Nicholas: I’d welcome Wenger back at Arsenal – he can help Arteta
- Charlie Nicholas: Celtic got lazy with signings – that’s why they’re behind Rangers