This is the second of a series of articles in which I attempt to encapsulate the mood amongst the fans of visiting teams to Goodison Park over the remainder of the season. Game 2, as it were, is the visit of Wolves on Boxing Day.

Before the Caribou Cup tie, against rock-bottom Gillingham, at Molineux on Tuesday this week, the focus of fan posts on their websites was the appointment of the Spaniard Julien Lopetequi as manager, on 5 November, shortly before the World Cup break. He took charge of the team for the first time against Gillingham. Wolves secured by all accounts an unimpressive 2-0 win.

Notwithstanding that welcome appointment, most of their fans were of the view that the team's performances over the first part of the season gave them little hope that relegation to the Championship might be averted.

In that context, the game against Everton is seen as critical, along with seven other fixtures over the remainder of the season. Loose on Boxing Day,  and there may only be four other teams they could realistically catch to avoid the drop.

However, as the week has progressed and the win secured in the Cup tie, the mood has edged towards being more positive. For example, one scribe wrote:

"The game against Everton is in danger of being over-hyped… I would be happy with a point."

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Although there are many who feel the Gillingham result is of limited bearing on the game at Goodison Park, because the Boxing Day game is far more important if the new manager is looking to build up confidence in his squad. He must figure out a way to score more goals and shore up the defence. To that end, it is interesting to note that Wolves have secured the services of the striker Matheus Cunha, on loan to the end of the season, with a £40M option to buy.

Commenting on how Wolves will approach this game, a number consider it's safety first with a back five; four is inviting trouble. One fan took the line that, whilst Everton are "terrible", he was not too confident. There are too many issues to fix in the squad for the new manager to work miracles overnight.

Over the past few days, however, the mood has become slightly more optimistic and many now predict a narrow win, whilst others would be content with a draw.

So on we go to the joys of a Boxing Day, 3pm kick-off. It seems the visiting fans anticipate a new manager "bounce" will secure the Wolves at least a point.

Can I take this opportunity to wish all who read and/or contribute to this site a very Happy Christmas. I look forward to your comments on this article, before or after the game.


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Reader Comments (15)

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Gerry Morrison
1 Posted 23/12/2022 at 20:26:33
Thanks Alasdair. Interesting to hear the perspective of the other side.
Derek Thomas
2 Posted 23/12/2022 at 21:48:24
Both sets of fans are worried...'I'll take a point' might be offered by both, with the unspoken subtext being - a loss is disastrous.
Maybe a 'Who Dares, Wins' is the way to go.

Merry Christmas to all.

Don Alexander
3 Posted 23/12/2022 at 23:17:34
Sorry Dave, I've had a few this evening, but is this a massive new review of our club despite our chairman having gone public saying that every club with problems always calls Everton up for advice because "Everton always get it right"?
Danny O’Neill
4 Posted 24/12/2022 at 06:09:25
I always like the view of opposition supporters. I get enough of it in my place of living and on the train journeys I make to watch Everton. It's always healthy to get another viewpoint.

I never take any opposition or game for granted, but we can beat Wolves. I just hope that, given the position of both teams, it doesn't turn into a game of nerve-driven chess… "Who blinks first" scenario.

Dave, Christine. Genuine question as I gave up waiting for that review. Was it conducted internally or did an external body come in?

Different world, but when my company does its annual review, following the internal "get your house in order" audit, it is then passed to an external auditor to give an honest and independent assessment followed by a report with recommendations.

Otherwise, you're just marking your own homework and it's back-slaps all around. I suspect our current regime would be terrified of an external independent assessment…

Onto Monday and the match....

Christine Foster
5 Posted 24/12/2022 at 09:17:12
Stuff the turkey and the board too, it's Christmas Eve down under, but a few hours to go, so I want to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and a great New Year! Without you all, my frustration at being Blue would be monumental.

My special thanks to Michael and Lyndon for such a brilliant place like home, to the many posters – thank you, don't stop. Dave and Tony A, Rob, Danny, Don, Derek, Tom Hughes and a special Merry Christmas to Bernie, where are you?

I hope you all enjoy the very best Christmas, roll on 2023.. points on Boxing day is a start!

Thank you, everyone and all I haven't mentioned, for making this Blue smile. Merry Christmas!

Dave Abrahams
6 Posted 24/12/2022 at 09:44:22
Christine (7),

I've said it once or twice before but I honestly wish you were on Everton's Board of Directors. But unfortunately, girl, honesty and integrity aren't allowed with this Board's chairman – phoney platitudes rule there.

Merry Christmas, Christine; have a couple of large ones and put them on my slate. I'll see you at the first game at Bramley-Moore Dock and we'll make a night of it with dozens of other genuine Blues who truly love and care about this club of ours.

As for this Board… out with the old and in with the new!!

Eddie Dunn
7 Posted 24/12/2022 at 10:24:29
So the board and coach have told us very little about anything of note.

I know Mr Lampard doesn't want to give Wolves his teamsheet too early, but what is the point of these pre-match pressers?

We have had a welcome break from the anxiety that has blighted us lot for a couple of years (or a few decades) and I am grateful that I will, at least enjoy Christmas Day before the usual worries return on Boxing Day.

My hope is that Frank has found a way to rekindle Gordon's fire and to utilise Maupay within a system that works. That Holgate or Mina can fit seamlessly into the back line, and our pedestrian midfield can match the talented Wolves lads.

My worry is that we will once again find it difficult to score and normal service will be resumed.

Tony Abrahams
8 Posted 24/12/2022 at 10:52:21
It does sound like Denise got one of those kids a dot-to-dot drawing book for Christmas, Eddie.
Alan J Thompson
9 Posted 25/12/2022 at 07:07:11
Christine(#5); I wouldn't mention the Everton Board in the same sentence as turkeys otherwise it will be the usual, "It's been plucked and stuffed and now only needs killing and cooking".
Derek Knox
11 Posted 25/12/2022 at 11:02:33
Thanks Alisdair, interesting to see that some Wolves think 'we are terrible' – maybe not too far off the mark there, but a little harsh all the same.

Let's prove that or those fans so wrong. All the best, Christine hoping all blues enjoy a good watch and 3 points!

Jim Bennings
12 Posted 25/12/2022 at 12:43:45
As far as I can see it, if we don't win this one, I can't imagine who we beat.

Wolves score even less than us, so that tells you something is wrong big time with them.

They are bottom, we are at Goodison.

If we can't win this, then I think I'll be getting my preps ready for what date the Championship starts in August next year.

Raymond Fox
13 Posted 25/12/2022 at 13:34:52
There will be two teams and two sets of supporters in a very nervous state tomorrow. It might come down to who can control their nerves best in front of goal.

I've seen a few snatches of Wolves games and, apart from not putting the ball in the net, they seem a very capable team.

Paul Kernot
14 Posted 25/12/2022 at 22:00:16
Boring nil - nil draw coming up then.
Rick Tarleton
15 Posted 26/12/2022 at 10:50:19
It's a vital game: a comfortable win and Everton can move up the Premier League table and enter the New Year with a modicum of confidence. A draw or a defeat and confidence may shatter and the relegation dogfight will be hard work.

I'd like to see Ben Godfrey involved as Coady is ineligible. Is Calvert-Lewin vaguely fit? Can Gordon become the player he was 12 months ago?

And above all – can Lampard motivate this bunch of underperformers and can he pick an appropriate formation to take hold of the match and win it?

Charles Brewer
16 Posted 26/12/2022 at 12:37:55
A couple of weeks ago, we saw one of the greatest football matches - read greatest events - in all sporting history. Argentina played a magnificent first half, which, while it lacked the spectacular acrobatic display which a few Brazilian players (provided they are played with the right support) can show, was an exhibition of non-violent aggression, passion, opportunity grabbing and glorious goal scoring.

Late on in the match - maybe through complacency, tiredness, possibly even boredom, they decided to just faff around until the inevitable, and easy, victory after 90 minutes.

The French, hilariously defying the "white flag / cheese eating surrender monkeys" stereotype, pulled something astonishing out of the hat (I saw the same once from their rugby team against New Zealand) and turned a display of dominance from the world's best player and his team into an "edge-of-the-seat / better by far than Hollywood" transformation with a sudden flash of sheer skill and spirit of élan such as Napoleon would have recognised.

Anyone who saw that match who loved football was blessed.

The two best participants were Messi and the French manager, Déchamps, who removed two first class but failing stars in the first half, and then made a game-changing substitution in the second.

Southall lost the Euros final by failing to manage and by changing from a "let's go out and win this" to the Everton model of "Oh Christ, we're ahead, let's play 11 men in the penalty area and pray they can't shoot straight from 20 metres, never get a deflection, never get a decent corner, don't have a flash of dribbling genius, hit a defender's arm from close up..."

Pickford was England's most intelligent player when he began hoofing the ball up the pitch rather than watch Stones, Shaw, Maguire, Walker kick it back and forth and not get beyond the halfway line until the other side had got everyone back and settled down into a defensive formation.

If Everton revert to the Southgate Standard, we'll be relegated.

And deserve it.

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