Since Thick Mick’s departure things have gone from bad to worse for our hosts. The Conservative Yorkshireman paid the price for a poor run of form culminating in a derby shlacking by wba on their own patch, but in fairness the Molyneux outfit were at least competitive prior to his departure compared to what has gone on since. The admirable Terry Connor has taken on a troubled club and while results have got worse (they’ve lost 9 on the spin at home) the clubs hierarchy come out of this sorry episode looking distinctly amateur with bad kopite Steve Morgan particularly exposed as a clown without make-up.
I’d imagine we would go 4-2-3-1 with the forward 4 players fairly fluid and interchangeable with Pienaar and Osman narrowly supporting Jelavic off the flanks. Wolves usually deploy either 4-4-2 or 4-5-1 with Doyle, or as he is also known ‘Everton target Doyle’ and Fletcher both selected last time out in the 8 goal thriller at Swansea. With nothing to play for in this fixture you’d imagine Connor would stick with this system in the hope of giving the home fans ‘ a good send off’. If Wolves do go 4-4-2 I’d fancy us to control the game with an extra man in the middle. Wolves have played 4-5-1 in other games since Connor took over with Davis a potential option here if Connor wants more control in the centre of the pitch.
Our hosts have an over reliance on crossing making 27 per game with only Liverpool making more per match in the top flight. This is to make up for a distinct lack of incision in the middle of the pitch. Moyes will mitigate this by playing a high line to dictate where the crosses are coming as he did in the reverse fixture when they delivered 0 successful deliveries.
Here is how I’d see the sides lining up….
The Toffees won the reverse fixture 2-1 at Goodison in a game we dominated for the most part but had to rely on 2 set pieces to win after Wolves took the lead from the spot with their only shot on target. In this fixture last season McCarthy went 4-4-2 against our 4-2-3-1 in a game which was over as a contest by half time following a Billy special and other goals from Neville and the now departed Beckford. The Blues played predominantly counter attack in this one with our hosts having a lot of the ball but producing little of substance.
Darron Gibson could return to the side having missed the midweek trip to Stoke. Fellaini and Cahill were both preferred deeper vs stoke because of this and also to combat the long balls but I’d expect one to push further forward (probably Cahill) if Gibson is back. The injuries picked up by Anichebe and Neville will keep them out for the remaining fixtures whilst Baines could feature in next week’s finale.
Matt Jarvis bagged 2 last week but is touch and go for this weekend whilst keeper Wayne Hennessy is out for the remaining dead rubbers meaning De Vries will be between the sticks. Stephen Hunt – who has amazingly scored against us for 3 different clubs – is available again whilst on loan Bassong faces a late fitness test.
The Blues are firm favourites with the bookies in this fixture. Betfred offer 8/11 on a Blue win whilst you can get as long as 17/4 with Boylesport on Terry Connor to register his first win at the helm.
As mentioned earlier, Wolves home record is awful having lost 9 home games on the spin averaging 3 goals conceded per game in that sequence. Unsurprisingly they have conceded the most shots in top flight (634) which is 18 per game so you’d imagine Jelavic will certainly ‘get a sniff’ in this one. A Jelavic anytime/ Everton win double is 7/5 with Willie Hills and you can get the equivalent bet on Pienaar at 9/2 with the same vendor. The best bet for the Croat to score first is 4/1 with Paddy Power.
A huge 78% of Wolves home games have involved 2.5 goals + which is the second highest in the division after Man City. Both clubs have been involved in 4-4 draws in recent weeks so it would be worth sticking this on a 2.5 goals + accy with this game a single priced 8/13 (again with Hills) for that outcome.