By 90Min
August 10, 2018

Wolves and Everton kick off their 2018/19 Premier League campaigns on Saturday as they face off at Molineux.

The home side are making their long awaited return to the top flight after a six year absence, courtesy of a dominant, title winning season in the Championship during 2017/18. After a busy transfer window, football fans everywhere are excited to see just how Nuno Santo's men will fare this season.

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After a disappointing campaign under first Ronald Koeman and then Sam Allardyce, Everton are now under the tutelage of Marco Silva and looking to break into the seemingly impenetrable top six, with summer investments reflecting this goal.

Here's everything you need to know ahead of this intriguing clash.


Classic Encounter


Wolves and Everton haven't faced off against each other since Wolves were last in the Premier League six years ago, but that match finished in a dull 0-0 draw.

The most interesting tie between the two sides came a few months prior to that result, in November 2011, where the Toffees were able to come from behind to secure all three points in a tense affair at Goodison Park.

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Wolves took the lead midway through the first half courtesy of a Steven Hunt penalty but were only able to hold onto the lead until the brink of half time when Phil Jagielka met a Leighton Baines free-kick to level the tie.

Everton mounted considerable pressure throughout the second half and were eventually rewarded for their persistence when they awarded a penalty of their own in the 87th minute. Baines stepped up and duly tucked the ball away to secure the comeback.


Recent Form


It has been a mixed bag of results during pre-season for Wolves, who managed to win three of their six friendlies.

Wins against the likes of Basel, BSC Young Boys and Villarreal demonstrated that they do have enough quality to compete with some decent European sides, but two winless matches against Championship sides Stoke and Derby may have raised a few questions.

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On the other hand, Everton's pre-season has been extremely disappointing. A farcical 22-0 victory over Austrian side ATV Irving aside, Everton have been unable to win any of their other six matches which included an embarrassing 4-0 defeat to Blackburn Rovers.

However, pre-season results will be quickly forgotten when Saturday evening rolls around and both sides field their full strength sides.


Team News


Nuno Santo currently has a fully fit squad to choose from and has been able to work with the majority of his new signings for a few weeks, Adama Traore aside.

The Portuguese manager is expected to utilise a three at the back formation and is likely to provide competitive debuts to a host of players, including Portuguese duo Rui Patricio and Joao Moutinho.

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Everton are going to be without James McCarthy and Dominic Calvert-Lewin, but in all honesty they would have been unlikely to have made a start even if they were fully fit.

It will come as no surprise if Marco Silva opts to field both of Everton's big money signings, Richarlison and Lucas Digne, as they are both expected to play crucial parts in the Toffees' season.


Potential Wolves Starting Lineup: Patricio, Cody, Boly, Batth, Doherty, Neves, Moutinho, Castro, Costa, Jimenez, Jota.


Potential Everton Starting Lineup: Pickford, Coleman, Jagielka, Keane, Digne, Gueye, Davies, Sigurdsson, Richarlison, Walcott, Tosun.


Prediction


Come the end of the season, both of these sides will be expected to be knocking on the door of the top six and it is hard to split the two sides coming into this one.

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Despite only just being promoted, Wolves look to be the more settled and balanced side on paper and they have injected some serious quality across the pitch. Everton still need to form their own identity under Marco Silva and it could take some time for them to put a string of results together.

It promises to be a tight affair, but Wolves might just have the edge in this one.

Prediction: Wolves 2-1 Everton

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