28/12/2023 54comments  |  Jump to last

Everton round out 2023 with a trip to the West Midlands to face Wolves, hoping to arrest a two-game losing streak that has left them back in the thick of the relegation dogfight.

In fact, victory for Luton town over Chelsea in the lunchtime kickoff would see the Blues begin their match in the bottom three thanks to the 10-point deduction handed down by the Premier League and the Hatters’ recent uptick in form.

Rob Edwards’s team have won three of their last six games and sit just a point below Everton in the table with a game in hand coming into the final weekend of the calendar year.

Meanwhile, of course, Sean Dyche’s men have lost their last two matches, against Tottenham and Manchester City, although they will feel they deserved a lot more than a return of zero points from their fixtures either side of Christmas.

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The Spurs game was additionally costly in terms of the loss to injury of Idrissa Gueye, who was replaced by André Gomes in 2-1 defeat at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and missed the clash with City. He won’t recover in time for the trip to Molineux and will likely be deputised again by Gomes who was excellent as a substitute in the former game but had a more up-and-down performance in midweek before he was withdrawn in the second half.

Ashley Young and Seamus Coleman won’t be ready for this one either and while Dyche described Abdoulaye Doucouré as “touch-and-go” to face Wolves, it would be a surprise if he is risked.

That will probably mean James Garner operating behind the striker, with Dominic Calvert-Lewin expected to be rotated back in with Beto dropping back to the bench.

Wolves will be without midfielder Jonny but defender Craig Dawson has passed a fitness test and striker Hwang Hee-Chan, who has made a habit of scoring in this fixture since signing for Wolves, has also been given the green light despite being substituted with a back injury in the 4-1 win at Brentford on Wednesday.

Mario Lemina, who scored the opener in that win over the Bees, looks set to miss out after he returned to France to attend to a family matter.

Everton's away form over the past few weeks suggests that they should travel with confidence that they can get something from this game even if Wolves's recent record of three wins and a draw from their last five games makes this another tricky fixture for the Toffees.

Dyche has instilled a never-say-die attitude in his players, though, and with the right application, defensive solidity and execution in the final third, they have every chance of coming away with all three points.

Kick-off: 3pm, Saturday 30 December, 2023
Referee: Tom Bramall
VAR: Michael Oliver
Last Time: Wolverhampton Wanderers 1 - 1 Everton

Predicted Line-up: Pickford, Patterson, Tarkowski, Branthwaite, Mykolenko, Onana, Gomes, Harrison, McNeil, Garner, Calvert-Lewin 


Reader Comments (54)

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Paul Kossoff
1 Posted 29/12/2023 at 22:48:00
Hope we don't get battered tomorrow.

Pickford is to blame for the Man City defeat, he needs a good coach to teach him the dos and don'ts of keeping.

Calvert-Lewin needs a striker coach, most of the Premier League strikers put him to shame. His finishing is average and now his timing and heading are off – I hope Dyche sticks with Beto for a few games.

I will be happy if we are not in the Bottom 3 come January.

Don Alexander
2 Posted 29/12/2023 at 23:14:56
Jordan Pickford kept us in the game repeatedly against Man City. The goal by Foden was not his fault. He merely took a small step to his right to get sight of the ball and Foden blasted it at that same split second whilst Jordan was momentarily unbalanced. Foden hadn't a clue.

The joke of a penalty was just that, a joke. Admittedly Jordan was somewhat at fault for the third but hey, he's otherwise consistently brilliant (and I remember Westy and Nev being of the same ilk).

Calvert-Lewin needs to accurately shoot more from outside the area. That's a skill that should be central to his training. He'd then frighten defences by twice as much as he does right now.

Stephen Williams
3 Posted 29/12/2023 at 00:06:09
What sort of Evertonian starts comments about Wolves with "I hope we don't get battered"? That's truly pathetic. Embarrassing.

I've driven 6 hours to drop my daughter at her home then another 3 hours tomorrow to Wolverhampton. Although I'll be knackered, I fully expect us to win. It's what believers do.

Regarding Jordan, although he was at fault for the 2nd goal - really poor punch, and clearly the 3rd, he has won us far more points than he's lost. Do we want the best English keeper between our sticks or someone less good? There's no debate to be had.

We're the 9th best team and we'll prove it. Just don't listen to idiots.

Kieran Kinsella
4 Posted 30/12/2023 at 01:12:25
Paul Kossof,

Come on, mate, I know you're a bit curmudgeonly but that's a bit much even for you.

Kieran Kinsella
5 Posted 30/12/2023 at 01:14:16

It's amazing how often Pickford pulls off worldies and they're taken for granted. Outfielders like Gomes have one good game in 5 years and they're heroes.

Derek Knox
6 Posted 30/12/2023 at 05:13:45
"Hope we don't get battered tomorrow"?

That's what all the fish say to each other in the Fish and Chip shop! Wolves are on a decent run but, apart from Spurs and Man City, where we were punished by poor finishing and poor refereeing, so are we.

We will not roll over to get our belly tickled, in fact, I think we will just shade it after 90 minutes. So COYB!

Danny O’Neill
7 Posted 30/12/2023 at 06:25:30
Don, I totally agree with your comments on Pickford.

Battered? I hope we batter Wolves, win the appeal and be put in the position we deserve to be in the league.

We didn't get battered by Tottenham or Man City, the latter just too good for us in the end.

We shouldn't fear Wolves, or anyone for that matter.

Mal van Schaick
8 Posted 30/12/2023 at 06:48:01
We have suffered a few losses recently, but our form has been reasonably consistent and we are creating chances.

Stick to our away winning formula and that should give us a win by the odd goal. 2-1 Everton, and further progress in the league.

Kim Vivian
9 Posted 30/12/2023 at 07:24:49
"Pickford to blame for the Man City defeat, he needs a good coach to teach him the dos and don'ts of keeping."

Absolute fucking bollocks, mate. Speechless...

Rob Halligan
10 Posted 30/12/2023 at 07:34:06
Would love to know how Pickford can be blamed for the Man City defeat?

He had no chance with the first goal, maybe try blaming the defence for not closing Foden down, whose shot was hit with power and was like an arrow into the bottom corner, and the second was a penalty that he did not give away.

Okay the third was all down to him, but the odds are that game would probably have finished 1-2 instead of 1-3 if he hadn't given the ball away.

Danny O’Neill
11 Posted 30/12/2023 at 07:38:31
Pickford kept us in it Rob. Those who watched know that.

Mistakes happen in football.

But Jordan made several great saves to keep us in the game.

Rob Halligan
12 Posted 30/12/2023 at 07:52:29
Definitely, Danny. See ya later. We're on the 10:33 train from Lime Street, due into Wolverhampton around midday.
Frank Sheppard
13 Posted 30/12/2023 at 07:56:59
I fancy us to get a win at Wolves. In our two recent defeats, there was much to admire in our play.

We were obviously outplayed by a brilliant Man City 2nd half, but it took a “big club penalty” decision to give them the lead.

Quietly optimistic, COYB.

Colin Glassar
14 Posted 30/12/2023 at 08:01:29
This is a must-win game not only for the points but to stop the doubts creeping into the players minds.

Another loss and confidence and belief could begin to slip. I think we'll win this game and begin another good run of results.

Jack Convery
15 Posted 30/12/2023 at 08:01:37
The ref, Thomas Bramall, has refereed 4 Premier League games this season. He's shown 21 yellows and 1 red. The red was against Liverpool.

As for today's game, I haven't a clue. This will be our 4th game in 11 days, which is ridiculous. We've got injuries to key players, Doucoure and Gueye. Onana, McNeil and Harrison looked knackered at the end of the game v Man City and Onana looks to be carrying an injury to me, too.

I see the PFA are looking at taking action against the number of games players are now expected to play. That should prove interesting.

Surely now is the time for the Premier League to give us all or some of our points back. Enough is Enough.

Here's to 2024, a year of profound importance to Everton's future.

Dave Cashen
16 Posted 30/12/2023 at 08:50:27
Pickford is not the complete goalkeeper (who is?). He won't suddenly go all Pat Jennings, coming out 10-15 yards to catch with one hand. But if there is a better shot-stopper in world football, I haven't seen him.

Calvert-Lewin is not a striker. He doesn't have the freedom to simply play on the shoulder of the last man or preserve his energy for when chances do come along. He won't go suddenly go all Gary Lineker.

Every time a long ball is knocked up to him, he is isolated. He has one center-half competing for the ball and another trying to block him from getting to it. His efforts to bring team mates into the game and get us up the park are Herculean.

If Dyche had £100M to spend. I doubt he would spend it on goalkeeper or a chance-converting goal machine. We don't have a good enough team to create 5 or 6 chances per game for a striker, like Liverpool or Man City. The sum of our parts is what will get us out of trouble.

If we have learned anything in the past two seasons, anything at all, it is that we are a far weaker team without Calvert-Lewin than we are with him.

Our cause will not be helped by hysterically claiming Pickford is a clanger merchant, nor will it be helped by screaming every half-chance Calvert-Lewin doesn't convert is a "sitter".

99% of clubs in world football would be delighted to have these two excellent players in their ranks. Only the very elite wouldn't be interested if they became available. They are two of our finest assets.

I despair when I see matchday threads criticising our players hours before a ball is kicked.

Alan McGuffog
17 Posted 30/12/2023 at 08:58:22
Pickford? Bah! He'll never be the new David Lawson or Drew Brand but we'll muddle along.

We will beat Wolves today, no worries. To all those travelling, have a good day, and if you see a boozer serving Bathams, fill yer boots!

Bryan Houghton
18 Posted 30/12/2023 at 09:04:59
What David Cashen said.
Jimmy Carr
19 Posted 30/12/2023 at 09:30:18
Was that first post meant to be a joke?
Brian Williams
20 Posted 30/12/2023 at 09:33:06
Jimmy. He has a habit of that.
Bobby Mallon
21 Posted 30/12/2023 at 09:35:46
Dave cashen.
Im not bashing DCL ( I do think he should have scored his chance) but how did Ancelloti get so many goals out of him. What was the difference in our play. Was it just down to having James Rodriguez? Was Alan better than garner or Onana I’m just mystified. DCL is as fit now as he was then is it the system Dyche plays what is it. I have my own theory and it’s we really miss Richarlison as he complimented DCL so much more than people realised.
Danny O’Neill
22 Posted 30/12/2023 at 09:39:27
Any game is winnable Dave. Today is winnable.
Mark Ryan
23 Posted 30/12/2023 at 09:40:09
Everton to win. DCL brace. We are heading upwards from here on in. Another gutsy performance from the mighty Everton.
Paul Birmingham
24 Posted 30/12/2023 at 09:59:46

Everton will beat Wolves today, and I’m expecting a positive reaction from the last couple of games.

Lethal and clinical today with focus and team spirit.


Dave Carruthers
25 Posted 30/12/2023 at 10:01:10
Excellent post 16 Dave Cashen 👏👏
Dave Williams
26 Posted 30/12/2023 at 10:02:10
What a sensible post by Dave Cashen. It’s a great point that we really miss Richi to take the pressure off DCL who I am sure will start scoring again soon.
We are playing well and growing as a team. Tough game today but I think he will play Doucs with DCL and maybe bench Onana.
Go boys!!
Robert Tressell
27 Posted 30/12/2023 at 10:08:30
Bobby # 22, the answer is that we had Digne, a younger Coleman, Sigurdsson and Richarlison + Bernard, Iwobi and Rodriguez. Basically a much better set of attacking players = more / better chances
Kevin Edward
28 Posted 30/12/2023 at 10:12:35
Errrr… without Pickford we’d be sitting comfortably in the lower regions of the Championship.
Anyway nothing to fear from Wolves, we have been playing well and will go there with confidence expecting to win.
So 1:2 to the Toffees with our magnificent away support getting us over the line.
Denis Hignett
29 Posted 30/12/2023 at 10:26:19
Tough to expect Gomes to play three games in a week after such a long lay off.
Happy with a draw today.
Stephen Davies
30 Posted 30/12/2023 at 10:32:23
It's a Back 5 today.
DCL Starting.
That's the Plan anyway
Jim Wilson
31 Posted 30/12/2023 at 10:41:06
The match officials did a maevellous job to ensure that two of the corrupt clubs got the points in our last two games, their efforts should not be underestimated, and lo and behold Micheal Oliver is yet again on VAR.

There seems to be a small set of names that the PL want to officiate our games.

Wolves apparently suffer more than most from bad decisions so let see how the dice falls today.

The midfield is a massive worry for me and I think it will give Wolves too much room to play in.

Seamus wide right of the midfield with Harrison pushed into the middle of midfield is what I would go with. Plenty of disciplined effort too.

Brian Harrison
32 Posted 30/12/2023 at 10:44:59
Our last 2 league games were always going to be very difficult, but I think we were unlucky not to get anything at Spurs, and when City play like they did in the 2nd half not many teams can live with them.
Today I think this is a game we can get something from despite Wolves recent form. I think what has become obvious is that Doucoure is probably our most important player to make our system work. He makes some terrific runs that create space for others and his goals are very important. He might not be the most gifted of players but he gives us so much that more than makes up for any short comings in his game.

Pity the DCL goal at Spurs was disallowed as like all strikers they live or die on their goal return. I think DCL from a few years back would have scored with the header against Spurs, the chance against Chelsea and the chance to equalize against City. But the plus fact is he is still getting in the position to score and hasn't gone hiding, as many strikers do when they are struggling for goals.

Tony Abrahams
33 Posted 30/12/2023 at 11:14:37
Don’t worry about this Rookie- Referee, who sounds like he dishes out yellow cards like confetti, because at least Michael Oliver, will be having a word in his ear.

Good post Dave C. I thought Beto suffered in a similar way on Wednesday night, and sometimes think that when Everton are going to play with eleven men behind the ball, Dyche should find a way of getting his two strikers onto the pitch?

I don’t know if he will do it today, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he went with a back three/five, and tried to get two strikers on the pitch. Highly unlikely, but something that might be worth a try?

Sean O’Hanlon
34 Posted 30/12/2023 at 11:30:16
Paul #1 - I too hope we don't get battered, and if Pickford is still in Pantomime season, I can see it happening.
Pickford normal, 2-2
Pickford Pantomime, 4-0 to Wolves.
Dave Abrahams
35 Posted 30/12/2023 at 11:32:42
Tony (34), Talking about referees Tony, about 3 million people got honours in the new years list but not one of them a referee: scandless! Erm like the list itself.
Tom Bowers
36 Posted 30/12/2023 at 11:43:19
Why do we still have a new years ''honours'' list and how do you get on it and do you have to be a T.V.personality, sports personality or politician to qualify ?

Surely this is another waste of time like VAR.

Tony Everan
37 Posted 30/12/2023 at 11:45:04
Pickford has been consistent over the last couple of seasons with less mistakes, better decision making. One of our best players over that period and central to our successful relegation battles. All goalies make the odd mistake and it always gets disproportionality amplified.

I'm having none of the ‘get battered' mindset. We won four on the bounce, conceding zero. Away at Spurs, we were the better team and we're very unlucky. Man City are light years ahead of most teams in the Premier League, and we were in the match until the ludicrous penalty decision.

Wolves are playing well but we can compete against them and grab another hard-fought win. I'll be more confident if Doucouré is starting but still think we will get a result anyway.


Tony Abrahams
38 Posted 30/12/2023 at 11:48:14
It sounds like there must be more names on that honours list, than there are in one of Norris McWhirter's famous books, Dave?

Hopefully the people who have been awarded take no notice of the Venezuelan President calling the British Empire decadent!

Christopher Timmins
39 Posted 30/12/2023 at 11:57:37
I'm expecting us to get back on the winning trail today. We have put in a consistently high level of performance over the past 3 months and we should expect to beat teams who are in the mid-table region.

I still think we are a Top 10 team and nothing over the past two games has changed that view.

Danny, I hope you are in the away end today – I still recall your account of watching from the home end in 2022.

Dave Cashen
40 Posted 30/12/2023 at 12:03:13
Bobby 22

Thats a good question mate. I can only give my take.

I don't think there is a great deal of difference between the way we played under Carlo. Both he and Dyche looked at the players available and both decided to adopt a more conservative approach.

I just think Carlo was a little more averse to the long ball. His instructions to Calvert-Lewin were well documented. "Get in the box and strike early". Dyche wants a little more from him in the build-up.

Fully appreciate the point you make about Richarlison's support. Unfortunately he's gone and we have to look to Beto to share the load. After an unconvincing start. I think the big fella is showing signs of adapting to Premier League demands.

To me, a sitter is when a player has time to take aim. Calvert-Lewin hasn't really had that. All his "sitters" have missed when he has had to fight off extreme pressure from a defender to even get a shot or header in.

I don't see Dyche playing both his forwards. Let's hope if Calvert-Lewin can't score today, he can at least soften the Wolves defenders up enough for the big fella to come on late and do them.

Christy Ring
41 Posted 30/12/2023 at 12:09:15
I hope Doucoure is back today, we miss his support beside Dom, and the last couple of goals he scored were rebounds from his efforts.

It's not easy playing as a lone striker against two centre-backs, so less of the Calvert-Lewin bashing.

Duncan McDine
42 Posted 30/12/2023 at 12:17:39
Funnily enough, a fella I went to school with, and played a bit of footy with, is on the honours list... and he is a Premier League referee (had his first game on Boxing Day).

The honour is for his many years of work for Wiltshire Fire & Rescue.

Some of you may have noticed Sam Allison on MotD... the first black referee since Uriah Rennie. I see him every now and then, so will discretely ask if there's any truth to the corruption theories! Pretty sure he'll give me a two-word answer.

Frank Fearns
43 Posted 30/12/2023 at 12:34:04
Calvert-Lewin is an excellent centre-forward and his near chances will be converted. He's a lone striker – probably the hardest position to play.

Pickford is a top goalie but I wish he wouldn't gob off at the defenders if he has to make a save. I thought Tarkowski was going to sort him out at one point last week.

Everton have been outstanding the past few weeks. On another day, they would have beaten Man Utd but the day was all too much after the points reduction and a brilliant goal after a couple of minutes. We should have beaten Spurs. Beaten by the World Club Champs – no arguments there??!!

As for getting battered today… no chance. Why think like that – born pessimist. I prefer the O'Neill Optimism.


Dave Abrahams
44 Posted 30/12/2023 at 12:58:16
Duncan (43),

Well at least your friend got an honour for something worthwhile. I think he would have been less than discreet if he had said that there is corruption amongst the referees, telling you to politely ‘do one‘ doesn't mean that there isn't any.

I watched Sam referee his game, did okay, I'll keep my eye on him. They all start off okay. I used to rate Michael Oliver as very good… don't know why he is very poor now, maybe the more senior referees had a word with him and he's getting his reward each week like them!

Geoff Lambert
45 Posted 30/12/2023 at 13:05:20
If we are going to win today, our world class striker needs to up his game and convert his chances, even if he is under pressure in doing so.

If Doucouré is fit, we will be a much better unit – he is very underated imo.

Why are the Pickford bashers at his throat again? Are they closet Geordies? He has been fantastic for us and just came off a run of four clean sheets. Get off England's No 1's back.


Sean Mitchell
46 Posted 30/12/2023 at 13:05:53
Tough game today. O'Neil has done a good job. But it's an Everton win for me (and us all). Hard fought 2-1 win.

As for Pickford being blamed for the loss to Oil FC - he had a good game bar the error. Made some crucial saves. No issue with him. Keep the hair slick, Jordan.

Kopite behaviour to blame him.

Rob Jones
47 Posted 30/12/2023 at 13:12:47
A result would be very timely. Especially if Chelsea are able to hold on to their result at Kenilworth Road. Going into 2024 with a 2- or 4-point gap above the relegation zone would be very nice.

As for the sudden renewed criticism of Jordan Pickford, the idiots making it should remember that, without him, we'd have been relegated in both previous seasons.

Duncan McDine
48 Posted 30/12/2023 at 13:26:16
Dave, I agree. Corruption within football has been proven on many occasions. I also agree with you about Michael Oliver... what happened to him?

Hopefully Sam will make a decent career for himself, but (as I told him a few weeks ago)... I wouldn't want to do it for all the tea in China!

Paul Kossoff
49 Posted 30/12/2023 at 13:40:15
Stephen, you do realise that I get paid from K&L to start an argument, don't you?

I'm stating the obvious, I hope we don't get battered by Wolves. I say it nearly every game we play, it's a defence I suppose. Chill out, go see if Santa's hid a pressie for you.

Keiran, I'm neither bad-tempered nor an old man. Miserable, mean, negative… yes, having thought about it, I am curmudgeonly I suppose. Where is my cheque? 😀🎅🎄

Roberto Carlos
50 Posted 30/12/2023 at 13:45:35
Wishing everyone a good New Year and a nice 3 points today!
Raymond Fox
51 Posted 30/12/2023 at 13:51:02
The betting is pointing towards a draw.

It's anybody's guess what the results will be really.

We can hope for a result but anyone saying we will win easy is just saying what we want to hear.

Rob Hooton
52 Posted 30/12/2023 at 13:51:28
Hopefully there won't be any controversy today and we will all be talking about another great performance and win this evening!

Pickford has been pretty faultless for 2½ years so I don't understand the gripes against him, he made a couple of mistakes and that happens to the best players occasionally. He's been a match-winner for us often and he'll be fine.

Would love Dom to get a goal or two today, he deserves them and it might take the snipers' sights off him for a bit.

Hope tiredness and fatigue doesn't set in today, we will need our subs and Danjuma should get some game time at some point.

Tony Abrahams
53 Posted 30/12/2023 at 13:52:31
Hopefully Dwight McNeil can bend one in with the outside of his left foot, just like your namesake used to do, Roberto.

All the best, kid.

Paul Kossoff
54 Posted 30/12/2023 at 13:53:09
And you, Roberto, Happy New Year and good health to you and yours and everyone on toffee web, including narky Stephen and K&L. 🎄🎅✝️😀

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