Wolves vs. Everton
Kick off: 5:30PM
Wolverhampton Wanderers make their return to the Premier League this evening as they welcome Everton to Molineux.
It is also the dawn of a new era for the Toffees as Marco Silva takes the helm looking to pick up the pieces from a disappointing 2017-18 campaign.
A lot has changed in the six years since Wolves were last in the top flight. Mick McCarthy’s English pragmatism has made way for the continental excitement of Nuno Espirito Santo’s side, who romped away with the Championship title last season.
In many ways, Wolves were the Manchester City of the second tier – unmatchable in every department. They won the most games, scored the most goals and conceded the least, and only a post-promotion slip up in the final two games prevented them from eclipsing 100 points.
With the help of Jorge Mendes in the transfer market, the West Midlands outfit have been planning for the Premier League since the start of last season and the likes of Ruben Neves and Diogo Jota will be itching to test themselves at the highest level.
Wolves have strengthened their Portuguese connection with the bargain signings of Joao Moutinho and Rui Patricio, who have 186 international caps between them, while Adama Traore and Leander Dendonker represent more youthful captures with an eye on the future.
After Ronald Koeman’s horrible misuse of a £150m war chest in 2017, new Everton boss Marco Silva has been lucky enough to be granted a do-over this summer with the Toffees once again very active in the transfer market, backing the manager whom they had been chasing for six months.
Another £100m has been spent in the attempts to make Everton a Premier League force again. Richarlison from Watford is responsible for nearly half of that outlay at a whopping £50m, but that inflated fee is offset by the free transfer of Bernard and the loan capture of Andre Gomes.
The latter two both arrived at Goodison Park during a busy deadline day in which the Toffees also signed centre-back Yerry Mina from Barcelona. The Colombian scored three goals at the World Cup in Russia but it will be his defending that Everton are counting on, as they conceded 58 goals last season.
Although they placed a respectable eight in the final standings, Everton’s season was a mess. Most of their signings flopped, they went through three managers, were constantly hammered by the big boys and finished 12 points worse off than they did in the 2016-17 campaign.
The gap between Everton and the top six has grown year on year since 2014 and, although they were tipped to challenge for Europe off the back of last summer’s signings, this squad appears to be far better balanced than the one that Koeman assembled, so there is reason to be ambitious.
Wolves possible XI: Patricio, Saiss, Coady, Boly, Doherty, Neves, Moutinho, Jonny, Costa, Bonatini, Jota.
Everton possible XI: Stekelenburg, Coleman, Jagielka, Keane, Digne, Gueye, Schneiderlin, Richarlison, Sigurdsson, Walcott, Tosun.