Analysis & Ratings: Everton v Wolves
A crappy game with a lousy ending. If it had been a film I would have left before the end or possibly fallen asleep, but too much was at stake for both Wolves and Everton to open up or give anything away defensively to the opposition. The fact that all three goals came after dead-ball situations underlines that.
Wolves sacrificed their offensive qualities to gain defensive power in the middle and for a very long time it looked to be a successful tactics, but McCarthy failed to reach the target, at least one point, with about seven minutes. The question he must ask himself is if it’s not possible to keep a threat going forward and still be solid in midfield and at the back? Other teams has that app, why not we? 😆
The stats speaks with clear voice. We had only one shot on goal all game, and that was the Hunt penalty, very well taken, that he scored after Edwards stumbled upon the outstretched leg of Fellaini in the 36th minute.
Wolves had been pressed back by the Toffees before that, but now we gained momentum and almost snatched a second a couple of minutes later.
Just when I thought that we had a golden chance to get at least one point, maybe three from this encounter if we just could hold on in the lead until half time, Everton got a free-kick 30 yards out and Jagielka nodded the ball past Hennessey for the equaliser.
Our advantage was gone and I knew the break would give Moyes the opportunity to gather his troops and take control of the game. I rate his tactical skills very high and am sorry I can’t say the same about our manager.
The second half was characterised by a home team that tried to up the tempo and stretch Wolves defence out in length and width. Wolves tried to make that tactic a failure by keeping the team together, keep possession of the ball and slow the tempo down. Most important for both teams was though to keep defending well and destroy the opponents play rather then coming up with something constructive self. Security before anything else.
Because of that it was not a nice game to watch. No entertaining value at all if you’re not into S&M or something like that. 😆 Almost without wingplay Wolves didn’t know how to break through the Everton defence and because of Wolves strong defensive play the Everton crosses into the penalty area caused almost no damage to the away team. A stalemate of sorts and I was probably not the only person that put my money on the game ending with a 1-1 draw.
Sadly, though, the referee wanted another result so he intervened and decided the game for the Toffees. Maybe he called Ladbrokes at halftime?! Louis Saha felt the hands of Ward on his back after a corner and took his chances and dived with arms wavering and a ghastly kind of scream and the unexperienced man in black fell for it.
As against Manchester City we had a couple of half chances to equalise after that, but nothing much. Back to my question then; is it possible to be strong defensively and to create chances going forward both for Wolves? Nine corners from Everton and only one for Wolves and 41 crosses by them against 11 by us says to me that our wing play was nonexistent.
If we’re looking back at this season and the last we are one of the teams that are given most corners and have the most crosses in the league. That is because of our wingplay and this game perfectly illustrated that without that weapon we have nothing else going forward. Our inner midfield does not seem to possess the strength or skills to penetrate the Everton defence.
Jarvis changed the game when he came on against Wigan and he did not weaken our defensive play. I had hoped that he would play from start against Everton and I was very disappointed he did not. The combination of Ward and Jarvo on the left would have given us chances from corners, free-kicks and crosses from the left, I’m sure, and even if this would not result in goals directly it would have forced Everton to back down and Wolves would be given more territorial advantage by that and more chances on shots if nothing else.
Now Everton had the territorial advantage of 58% against 42%, that’s something else unusual to Wolves and it shows that we crippled our chances of getting something out of the game. So even if the tactics of playing a very defensive game nearly became a success, we could, in my humble opinion have done better with an out-and-out winger in the team. Actually I would say our formation yesterday was 4-2-4-0, with Doyler also being in on crowding the midfield and it’s very hard if not impossible to get a goal in play from that. To the ratings.
Hennessey – 8 – The song “If not for you” by Bob Dylan comes to mind when thinking about Wayne’s match-decisive save in the 16th minute of the game. He made other great saves aswell and I believe that I can conclude that his weakness when coming out from the goal line that was most noticeable a couple of years ago now has turned into a strength.
Or I should rather say that HE has turned it into a strength of course. In every other game he is the one that saves us from goals in the back and I saw some stats saying that he is in top three of the keepers on amount of saves in the Premiership. I wouldn’t change him for anybody in the world and he is Paddytheflea’s Star Man!
Stearman – 7 – A fighting display by Stears as usual and it’s a pity he should pay for it by a probable broken wrist. I hope he will be back from his injury soon, because I believe he was going somewhere and we don’t see him making the same mistakes anymore that he made a couple of times last season and the season before.
Stears actually had a couple of good runs going forward aswell as playing well in defense today. He is young and he learns and he will come back stronger, probably taking his place back from Foley or Zubar who thankfully are back from injury and can serve as his replacement.
Johnson – 6 – Had a descent run today, but made the usual mistake almost causing a goal in the back. He looks to have a bad temper aswell and I don’t know if that’s because his play is not on top or if it’s his usual mode when playing.
Berra – 7 – One of the best in a very good back four on the day. He took the threat of incoming balls away at numerous times and helped Wardy and later Elokobi out a lot at the left. Berra has been one of our most consistent players this season and he deserves the smiley!
Ward – 8 – It was not his fault that the referee decided to point at the penalty spot after his perfectly normal defending on the corner. The same defending made him a hero minutes earlier when he stopped Cahill from scoring two yards out from the goal line.
Stephen Ward has gone from one of our most inconsistent to our most consistent player in a year and his working rate is fantastic. Yesterday he had to take yet another role when Stears got injured and he excelled in the right back position aswell. He made more accurate passes than anybody else and he is more than worthy to get my little star.
Henry – 6 – Helped out well in the back and tried to go forward without success. Got the ball on the wrong foot a couple of minutes after the first goal otherwise we may have gone out of sight for Everton. With such a crowded midfield he finds a role and performs it well.
Milijas – 6 – Mostly defensive shores for Milijas in this game and he looks a little slow and rusty in his moves. For me it was a surprise that he did play today, but with Guédioura out on international duties the week before and not playing well against Wigan he got a chance. I would also chose him before Guédi, but the question is if he did enough to convince Mick that he should start in the future. He will probably get another chance against Chelsea, though, as both O’Hara and Hunt are out because of five yellow cards.
Edwards – 6 – Still looks a little awkward at times and situations, but does a lot of good both going forward and defending. He ran in possession in the box forcing Fellaini to react in the wrong way which was the best Dave could have done apart from scoring himself. Because of injury he has not played that much in the Premiership, so I believe that we have more to look forward to coming from him.
Hunt – 6 – A well taken penalty and a couple of good runs, one of them rendering O’Hara a free in the latter stages of the game. He doesn’t seem to have the impact on the game now that he had towards the end of last season, though, and I’m waiting for that.
O’Hara – 6 – Was well watched by Everton players today and that gave him short of time to work his magic. There were little place for creativeness in this game, but he kept on trying and had a couple of long crosses that could have opened the game up if we had a winger on the pitch. His accuracy in passes was very good – 44 out of 48.
Doyle – 5 – As I said he worked mostly in midfield in this game, but had a couple of runs forward in counter attacks. One in which Stears followed him up, but sadly Doyle didn’t reach him with his pass. Not a single shot on or at goal from Doyle and because of that I will take a point away. Fletcher came on with four minutes left and had a shot at goal.