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Venue: Goodison Park
Premier League
Wednesday 19 May 2021; 6:00pm
1 0
Richarlison 48'
Half Time: 0 - 0 
Attendance: 6,068
Fixture 37
Referee: Andy Madley

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Match Summary
Match Report
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  Coleman (Davies 82')
  Doucoure (Holgate 90')
  Sigurdsson (Gomes 86')
  Subs not used
  Gbamin (injured)
  King (injured)
  Bolasie (loan)
  Branthwaite (loan)
  Gibson (loan)
  Gordon (loan)
  Kean (loan)
  Simms (loan)
  Tosun (loan)
  Walcott (transferred)

  Boly (Dendoncker 80')
  Semedo booked
  Neves booked
  Moutinho (Vitinha 80')
  Gibbs-White (Da Silva 68')
  Subs not used
  Rui Patricio

Match Stats

Shots on target

Premier League Scores
Brighton 3-2 Man City
Chelsea 2-1 Leicester
Man United 1-1 Fulham
Southampton 0-2 Leeds
Burnley 0-3 Liverpool
C Palace 1-3 Arsenal
Everton 1-0 Wolves
Newcastle 1-0 Sheff United
Tottenham 1-2 Aston Villa
West Brom 1-3 West Ham

1 Manchester City 83
2 Manchester United 71
3 Chelsea 67
4 Liverpool 66
5 Leicester City 66
6 West Ham United 62
7 Tottenham Hotspur 59
8 Everton 59
9 Arsenal 58
10 Leeds United 56
11 Aston Villa 52
12 Wolverhampton Wanderers 45
13 Crystal Palace 44
14 Southampton 43
15 Newcastle United 42
16 Brighton & Hove Albion 41
17 Burnley 39
18 Fulham 28
19 West Bromwich Albion 26
20 Sheffield United 20

Match Report

The part that confidence and belief can play in football shouldn’t ever be underestimated. Nor should the importance of Everton’s supporters. There was a narrative that began in the Roberto Martinez years that “toxic” Goodison Park was having a detrimental effect on the players and while there is merit to that argument where individual players are concerned, when it comes to the team as a whole this season has demonstrated just how much this current squad needs the backing of its home fans.

Three Premier League games with supporters in attendance and three wins says quite a lot, even when you take into account the Carabao Cup defeat to Manchester United, watched by the couple of thousand Evertonians who were allowed in, where the Blues simply couldn’t live with a superior attacking outfit. This evening there a little over 6,000 inside the Grand Old Lady and the signs bode well for next season that Everton’s wretched home record in 2020-21 won’t be repeated while the stands aren’t empty.

This was not a good performance but it was enough to earn the Toffees their first home win since the start of March — and, let’s face it, had it not been for a vital Robin Olsen save at the end of that game, it might have gone the same way as the Crystal Palace one — and it was fitting that Richarlison bagged the winner.

Evertonians have mused quite a bit in recent weeks that few players feed off the energy of a crowd more than the mercurial Brazilian and the way he rose to the occasion of supporters being let into Goodison for the first time since December seemed to bear that out. Quiet in the first half, Richarlison scored a terrific headed goal just two minutes into the second and by the end he was looking very much like the player Blues fans have come to love since he joined from Watford three years ago.

The match itself was evocative of that narrow victory over Saints, one also secured by a solitary Richarlison goal, albeit without the late cavalry charge from the visitors. Everton had largely stifled Wolves by the midway point of the second half and if anything it was Carlo Ancelotti’s side who looked the more likely to score.

The reverse had been true in the first half, however. Nuno Espirito Santo’s men had carried the greater threat in the opening half an hour and it needed Jordan Pickford, arguably the Blues’ best player since his heroics in the Anfield derby, to be at his best to keep things goalless at the interval.

He was equal to an excellent volley from Morgan Gibbs-White in the 14th minute and tipped a strong drive from the lively but increasingly ineffective Adama Traoré in the 32nd. In between, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison had registered efforts on target for Everton but they were tame while Wolves had forced a flurry of corners and Yerry Mina’s block had deflected Fabio Silva’s only dangerous moment over the crossbar.

It was the hosts who finished the half the stronger, though, with the irrepressible Ben Godfrey seeing a shot blocked by his own player in Seamus Coleman and Richarlison having a close-range shot deflected behind after the ball had pinged around the visitors’ box following a corner.

Given how tentative and typically ponderous Everton had been in their build-up play, with that now familiar lack of movement, players showing for passes or ability to move the ball through the lines — Allan and Abdoulaye Doucouré had disappointing first-halves but improved somewhat in the second — it was perhaps not surprising that the winner came from a set-piece. The fans in attendance had been desperate to see James Rodriguez in the flesh but were left wanting when the Colombian was withdrawn from the squad due to “fatigue” and the team lacked creativity without him.

But in his absence, Gylfi Sigurdsson provided the energy in the press even if he wasn’t as productive when Everton had the ball and it was his corner that served up the winner. The Icelander’s out-swinger was perfectly placed for Richarlison to leap highest and guide his header into the far corner.

That buoyed Everton and in combination with the urging of the crowd not to keep turning backwards but, rather, to gamble a bit going forward, they came to close to padding their lead. A good break by Richarlison where he fed Doucouré and the Frenchman’s pass to Lucas Digne was helped on to Coleman but the Irishman's shot was deflected past the far post.

A horrible giveaway by Richarlison gave Traoré the chance to burst through the centre but the winger's shot was weak and easily saved while Dominic Calvert-Lewin tested Ruddy with a low drive from the angle after his strike partner had played him in smartly behind the defence.

Sigurdsson went close to sealing it either side of a penalty claim for handball by Wolves against Doucouré, first with an attempted curler that hit the stanchion on the right side of goal and then with another effort searching out the same corner that took a nick off a defender on its way behind.

So after months of misery on their home soil, Everton ended their campaign of fixtures at Goodison Park on a high and with a victory that means they can still qualify for the Europa Conference League if they better Tottenham’s result on Sunday.

The failings at home against the likes of Leeds, West Ham, Burnley, Fulham, Newcastle and Sheffield United where just a point in each would have meant Champions League qualification would still be possible heading into the final day will forever hang over this strange pandemic-affected season but Ancelotti will have learned plenty about this players and what he needs to push on in 2021-22.

Lyndon Lloyd

Matchday Updates

In front of 6,500 fans, Everton finally ground out a win at Goodison Park, thanks to a fine header from Richarlison off a fine Sigurdsson corner. But it was the one moment of quality in another largely tedious showing where Ancelotti wanted to prove again that Everton played better without the ball, keeping a clean sheet despite conceding acres of possession to Wolves.

The fixture marks the first time that supporters will be allowed into Goodison Park since 2,000 fans watched the Carabao Cup defeat to Manchester United and the win over Arsenal in the Premier League a few days earlier back in December.

Up to 6,500 fans will be allowed in, along with Farhad Moshiri, and Carlo Ancelotti is hopeful that their presence and voices will help lift his players out of their torpor on home turf. Everton have won just once at Goodison since the turn of the year and are on course to match the worst home record in their history.

Centre-half Mina starts against Wolverhampton Wanderers after sitting out two games with an adductor problem sustained in the win at West Ham United 10 days ago.

The Colombian is joined by Ben Godfrey and Michael Keane in Everton's backline, with Lucas Digne and captain Seamus Coleman — on his 350th Everton appearance — poised to continue in the wing-back positions.

Sigurdsson came off the bench in Sunday's meeting with Sheffield United but is back here, with Allan and Abdoulaye Doucouré also included in midfield. Jordan Pickford plays in goal.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin is up front and supported by Richarlison, making his 100th Premier League start for the Club.

The visitors got things going on a beautiful sunny evening at Goodison Park. Sigurdsson's first contribution was one of those stupid shoulder drag-backs that usually gets an automatic yellow card. An early corner for Wolves ensued but nothing more.

The first attempt on goal was a nice cross in from Allan with pace on it that Richarlison met well enough to power it into any of the four corners the goal presented. But Rocharlison directed it straight at Ruddy instead.

Traore won a corner that was smashed back in by Gibbs-WHite, curling away from Pickford who still got across to punch it behind. Digne went the other way to win Everton's first corner, which Calvert-Lewin won at the far post but could only head sown and into Ruddy's hands.

Everton resisted some more corners and advanced to set up Richarlison with a cross=-cum-shot that wasn't accurate enough for Calvert-Lewin but was watched all the way by Ruddy. The first quarter of the game had increasingly gone Wolves way, with the socially distanced Bleus fans numbed into relative silence, groans increasing with the short back and sides passing.

Everton laboured to build an attack, but it was Wolves who came closer when a shot was deflected just over the bar. From the corner, Traore's shot was deflected even closer to the goal, as a series of Wolves corners were repulsed. But from an Everton perspective, it was just as stupefying to watch as previous games.

Coady clattered into Calvert-Lewin, setting up an opportunity for Digne to work his magic, but it failed. Digne got a better cross in the direction of Calvert-Lewin but the Everton man had gone a little too early. Richarlison got a close-range shot off from a Digne corner but the defenders had it covered.

Godfrey did well to force an early corner for Everton after the break, Sigurdsson planting it nicely on Richarlison's head, and the Brazilian finally caught it well and just looped it inside the far post, his first goal in 12 games to gove Everton ad the expectant crowd a vital lead.

Something approaching a breakaway almost bought a second, Coleman's shot getting deflected behind by Coady after some great forward running, passing and movement.

AFter Everton had been pressing, Richarlison passed it straight to Traore, who ran in with the ball but fired it at Pickford. Godfrey intercepted and responded to the crowd's desire to see more rapid forward progress, with only Calvert-Lewin advancing, the pinpoint pass to his feet turned out to be far too difficult for the Everton centre-forward to control, and a great move collapsed.

The biggest Goodison cheer (after the goal) was for a fabulous Michael Keeane sliding challenge to sweep the ball away from Traore in full flight down the wing. Even Southgate must have been impressed.

Sigurdsson won a free kick in a deep central position, and Digne rehearsed play to Keane almost came off but was snuffed out. Some better play finally got a decent ball through for Calvert-Lewin to run onto and score... if he was Harry Kane. But he's not.

Everton then had to do some defending, with Traore getting well neutralized by good work from Godfrey and Coleman working as a double act. At the other end, Sigurdsson almost scored, curling a shot just the wrong side of the post.

Traore beat both defenders this time and a Doucouré handball was amazingly not called by VAR. Semedo fouled Richarlison on a promising counter-attack, seeing yellow. Richarlison tried a breakaway down the left on his own, crossing into Calvert-Lewin but again, Everton's leading scorer could not control it and Wolves resumed their relentless attacking.

Subs were made late on, in the manager's acknowledged wise old method of 'disrupting the flow' as the Blues clung on with increasing desperation to their slender and vulnerable lead.

A win was important to achieve tonight, taking the focus off the continuing poor quality of the football under Ancelotti's frustrating management this season.

Kick-off: 6pm, Wednesday 19 May 2021 on Sky Sports Premier League

Everton: Pickford, Coleman (82' Davies), Mina, Keane, Godfrey, Digne, Allan, Doucouré, Sigurdsson (86'Gomes), Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin.
Subs: Olsen, Holgate, Delph, King, Iwobi, Nkounkou, Bernard, Gomes, Davies.Subs not Used: Olsen, Holgate, Delph, King, Iwobi, Nkounkou, Bernard

Wolverhampton Wanderers: Ruddy, Boly (80' Dendoncker), Coady, Kilman, Semedo [Y:], Neves, Moutinho (80' Vitinha, Aït Nouri, Gibbs-White (67' Jose), Traore, Silva
Subs not Used:Hoever, Marcal, Rui Patricio. Saïss, Söndergaard.

Referee: Andy Madley
VAR: Graham Scott

Michael Kenrick

That Goodison Roar

Like us all, on Sunday evening I was totally deflated following our pitiful defeat to Sheffield United. The sinking feeling, compounded by Liverpool getting themselves on course for a Champions League position by doing what they do - benefiting from a referee making up the rules, a terrible VAR call in injury time and then a winner well after the four minutes of time added on. Honestly I couldn’t sum up the two clubs better if I tried. When the going gets tough, Everton find a way to fail. Liverpool find a way over the line by hook or by crook… in this instance, crook.

We shouldn’t talk too much about “them” I know, though I find it very frustrating, given we are aspiring to ultimately challenge the top teams; the lack of a Champions League cash injection would have really hampered them next season, and would make them a lesser draw for players. And moreover, they don’t deserve it. Anyway, enough about “them”. Grrr.

Fast-forward a couple of days and I couldn’t have been giddier to return to our beloved Goodison Park. I counted down the minutes and seconds of working my half-day and was out of the door barely a minute after 12:30 pm. I couldn’t contain my excitement as my mask hid my broad grin while on the bus over the water.

Usually, a few of us head over to the match together, though I was on my own for this one. With loads of time to kill, I found a nice bar on Castle Street in the sun with a couple of slow beers and my copy of When Saturday Comes for company. A friend of mine works at a restaurant nearby so I visited there for a bite to eat before heading back to Castle Street for a quick pint. Time had caught up with me quicker than expected and so I jumped onto the train at Moorfields at around 4:30 pm.

The club had requested attendees get to the stadium a whole 90 minutes before kick off. I was conscious of getting there on time though, as I walked past the various watering holes between Kirkdale and Goodison Park, it certainly didn’t seem as though most other Evertonians were in much of a rush, so I swung into The Leigh Arms for a quick pint on the way, and arrived at Goodison Park around 45 minutes before kick off… which is about 40 minutes earlier than I usually do.

You couldn’t help but smile, walking down Goodison Road. It was great to see so many people back as Goodison Park basked in the sunshine. I felt lucky to be back. I bumbled through the turnstyle – initially outwitted by the ticket scanner – and was greeted by a steward offering complimentary water bottles and Mars bars.

Ordinarily I sit in the Lower Gwladys though this time I opted for a more central view in the Top Blacony, and what a view it was. With plenty of time to kill, I chatted to those around me, and we were all pretty disappointed to hear that James Rodriguez was unavailable with “fatigue”. Like everybody else, I was really looking forward to seeing James play. Like everyone else around us, I feel that is the last we’ve seen of him.

Time continued to zip by and it felt like no time at all that the players had gone back in from their warm-up and the sirens blared before Z-Cars. I’ve missed that special feeling when you see the players come out and Goodison Park roars, and it turns out that even 6,500 Evertonians can make some noise.

Along with James Rodriquez, Mason Holgate made way from the starting XI and in came Yerry Mina and Gylfi Sigurdsson.

For Wolverhampton Wanderers, Conor Coady was well-reminded of his Liverpool FC roots by the crowd, Joao Moutinho similarly so for his botched transfer saga from many years ago. Evertonians sure have long memories. In goal, it was nice to see a familiar face at the back in John Ruddy… even if it did take myself and the fella near me most of the half to realise it was he.

Both teams settled into the game rather quickly albeit without any early opportunities. Wolves soon got into their stride and tested Jordan Pickford on three separate occasions with Morgan Gibbs-White, Adama Traore and Fabio Silva, but the England stopper was equal to all. At the other end, Richarlison headed a good opportunity straight at John Ruddy.

Although the crowd encouraged the players, you could feel the frustration from our supporters at another slow home performance from Everton. As the half wore on, Everton eventually awoke, and finished the half a lot better than they had begun it, and almost scored from a goalmouth scramble following a corner kick, but Richarlison couldn’t quite capitalise.

I spent most of the break queuing for the bathroom as only three people were allowed in there at any given time, though I had precious little else to do in the 15 minutes with no kiosks open, of course.

Into the second half and Everton were much more on the front foot and were soon ahead. A good corner kick by Gylfi Sigurdsson was well met by Richarlison, who found the far corner of John Ruddy’s net. He peeled away ecstatic, and slid on his knees in the corner of the Gwladys Street. It was simply a joy to see Everton score in front of Evertonians.

This audibly lifted the mood and the atmosphere was brilliant from there forth. This visibly lifted the players who, all of a sudden, were sharper and gutsier into the tackle and swarmed all over Wolves in the second half. Abdoulaye Doucouré perhaps the best example of a player who was poor first half but upped his game several levels once we scored, and the supporters really got behind the players. There were others too.

It's probably no exaggeration to say that this was the best performance of the season from Richarlison. He’ll have enjoyed hearing the Gwladys Street sing his name and consequentially he buzzed around everywhere in the second half and almost set up Dominic Calvert-Lewin with a lovely ball in behind the defender, though Dominic’s effort was comfortably saved by John Ruddy. Hopefully we get to see the Richarlison we know and love next campaign in front of supporters, as this was a great reminder of what he can do with the crowd behind him.

Gylfi Sigurdsson twice came close from distance, one of which I thought had gone in for a moment, but we couldn’t get that second goal. The closest Wolves came was when Adama Traore seized upon a loose ball and charged past three Everton players, all of whom tried to bring him down, though thankfully Jordan Pickford was able to save his effort.

We could do worse than have a look at Adama if we are out of other options come the summer. I’m not sure what his price tag would be but I’d love to have a direct player with power, pace and energy; at 25 years old, you would say his best years are ahead of him.

We got to full-time unscathed and a loud cheer greeted the final whistle. I scarpered quickly and didn’t stick around for the lap of appreciation. I caught both my train and bus pretty perfectly and was home before 9 pm, which I was quite proud of. And Europe is still possible at least. It certainly didn’t feel that way earlier in the week.

It was a wonderful experience to return to Goodison Park with Evertonians. It's amazing what noise 6,500 can make and I can’t wait to hear that Goodison roar from 40,000 Evertonians in around 86 days' time.

Player ratings:

Pickford: He did very well. I’m pleased for Jordan that he has found his best form so far in his Everton career. He’s had a rough time from opposing supporters this season, and we were all questioning him earlier in the campaign. It was great management by Carlo Ancelotti in bringing in good competition for his place and taking him out of the firing line for a while. Let’s hope he has one more great game in him this season because he’ll need to be at his best on Sunday. 7

Digne: He had a solid enough game. 6

Godfrey: It was great to get a look at Ben. As we’ve all seen on TV, he carries the ball forward well, has great pace, and is a very physical and committed player. He made a great early tackle which the crowd always love to see. I was impressed. He could be a good player for us for a very long time. 7

Mina: Slotted back in nicely. He may need to be at his towering best on Sunday. 6

Keane: He anchored the back line very well and, if the onlooking Gareth Southgate was looking to make his mind up on one of Conor Coady or Michael Keane as a final centre-back for the Euro 2020 England squad, I’d wager he’d go with Michael based on this display. His tackle on Adama Traore was a particular highlight. He will also need to be at his defiant best on Sunday. 7

Coleman: Seamus does have limitations, especially as the years advance, but one thing he never lacks is fight and desire. Good on him for staying fit and fighting hard these last few weeks, and he fought hard again last night for the supporters. You would assume it's a position Marcel and Carlo feel they need to improve next season, though Seamus would be a more-than-useful back-up right-back and a great character to have around the club for a while yet. 7

Allan: He is tenacious and scraps for everything, but blimey, he is slow. 6

Doucouré: A game of two halves for Abdoulaye. Poor in the first but vastly improved after the break once the supporters really perked up. 6

Sigurdsson: Had a good all-round game, including an assist of course and twice came close to scoring. Not a bad shift from Gylfi in what has been a pretty good season from the Icelander. 7

Richarlison: He’s had a pretty poor season but it was a joy to see him back to his old self last night. Hopefully he can stick around and be back to his best next season. My Man of the Match. 8

Calvert-Lewin: He did pretty well. It's been a long-time since watching Dominic play live. What was apparent to me which perhaps I don’t pick up quite as much on TV, is how much he occupies the centre-backs. He worked hard last night without much reward. Let’s hope he’s got a killer blow in him on Sunday. 6

Davies (for Coleman): He did okay. It’s been a good season for Tom. I’m pleased he’s proven a few people wrong as he’s taken more flack than he has deserved these last few years. 6

Gomes (for Sigurdsson): He got involved and got on the ball a bit. It's a shame what happened to André with his injury as he hasn’t been the same since. Unless his general performances improve significantly, it's difficult to see where he fits into the team moving forward. 6

Holgate (for Doucouré): He was only on the pitch for a couple of minutes so it's difficult to judge. 6

Paul Traill

Match Preview

Everton will look to try and end an increasingly disappointing season in positive fashion, beginning with their final home game of the campaign when Wolves come to town tomorrow evening.

The fixture marks the first time that supporters will be allowed into Goodison Park since 2,000 fans watched the Carabao Cup defeat to Manchester United and the win over Arsenal in the Premier League a few days earlier back in December.

Up to 6,500 fans will be allowed in this time and Carlo Ancelotti is hopeful that their presence and voices will help lift his players out of their torpor on home turf. Everton have won just once at Goodison since the turn of the year and are on course to match the worst home record in their history.

"I think the supporters at the stadium is going to give us more motivation,” Ancelotti said. “They are going to give us more support. We had two times [in the League with] only 2,000 supporters at the stadium so I'm sure they're going to support us.

"We can only have the dream of Europe if we win these next two games."

Indeed, European qualification is out of Everton's hands — they will need to win both of their remaining fixtures and hope that one or both of Tottenham and West Ham stumble in order to book a place in either the Europa of Europa Conference Leagues.

"I don't want to talk a lot [about Europe],” Ancelotti continued, “because we are so disappointed for the game on Sunday and I would like to see a reaction from the team.

"I hope that we only do one thing: show a great reaction and be ready to play and to use our spirit. We were able to use it a lot of times but not at home and for that we're really disappointed. We'd like to finish the season at home better.”

Everton will have Yerry Mina and Josh King available. The Colombian has recovered from an adductor strain while King is in contention for his first start for the club after overcoming the knock that sidelined him for Sunday's match against Sheffield United.

With almost the same squad of players from which to choose, Ancelotti's team selection will make interesting viewing when it is announced at 7pm. Wolves had a disappointing season and are depleted by injuries to key players like Raul Jimenez and Daniel Podence but, on paper, they should pose a greater threat than Sheffield United who won comfortably in L4 at the weekend.

Ancelotti needs to offer something different to that limp display against the Blades, however, and that could be reflected in a bolder formation than the five-man defensive setup he deployed on Sunday.

Kick-off: 6pm, Wednesday 19 May 2021 on Sky Sports Premier League
Referee: Andy Madley
VAR: Graham Scott
Last time: Everton 3 - 2 Wolves

Predicted Line-up: Pickford, Coleman, Mina, Godfrey, Digne, Davies, Allan, Doucouré, Rodriguez, Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin

Lyndon Lloyd

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