There’s no denying it, Everton are now staring down the barrel of a gun. After just two games, their ambitions of Champions League qualification are in tatters, with just a single point taken from games which many Evertonians believed could have yielded six.
The absurdity of this ambition was laid bare in a scrappy second half of few chances, Everton allowing Wolves in typical fashion to come back into the game with a seemingly inevitable charity.
Next up, it’s mission impossible with a trip to Aston Villa, followed by a home game against a strong looking Manchester United. Evertonians, strap yourselves in and seek counseling, it’s going to be a long time until the first win of the season on this performance.
Worse still is the contract saga concerning Steven Pienaar, which must be resolved before deadline day lest the South African midfielder departs for absolutely nothing.
Although The Toffees were playing much poorer football this time last year, this nervous and average display was more reminiscent of the throwaway games against Aston Villa, West Ham and Birmingham that put paid to Everton’s battle for a European place. Once again, potency was sadly lacking in the attacking third, and there can be only one outcome when chances aren’t made use of.
Wolves on the other hand, are enjoying the start of life in their second season – for many teams promoted the previous year, it is notorious for being vastly inferior to the first. On the evidence of the second half display, Wolves look well equipped to take on the best in the league and make a stab at the top half of the table.
Their guts and determination once again won through in a difficult game, and showed that a team can have as many star names as they want, but count for nothing without teamwork and a desire to fight for a cause as opposed to money.
So here are the ratings, make of them what you will – Wolves will fancy themselves after this one:
Everton (Out of 10)
HOWARD – 6 – Didn’t drop the ball and aside from one save had little to do except pick the ball out of his net.
HIBBERT – 5 – Heart is in the right place, but just hasn’t got what it takes to be part of a “progressive” Everton squad.
JAGIELKA – 6 – Again came forward at times and looked mostly solid.
DISTIN – 5 – Looked suspect at times and was eventually found out for pace.
BAINES – 6 – Dissapointing delivery, but looks like he can grow into the season once the rest of the royal blue clowns sort themselves out.
HEITINGA – 6 – Again, not quite the enforcer he was last season and was responsible for the equaliser.
ARTETA – 7 – Looked lively and active
PIENAAR – 5 – Is he this year’s Joleon Lescott? Perhaps this performance indicates he secretly wants out… Nowhere near his best.
BILYALETDINOV – 4 – Lazy, slow and ineffective. Moyes should sell this 9 million pound liability.
CAHILL – 7 – Scored a poacher’s goal and got Everton off the mark for the season, otherwise anonymous.
BECKFORD – 5 – Poor distribution and despite best efforts, couldn’t get anywhere.
OSMAN – 5 – Brought on far too late – unimpressive.
SAHA – 6 – An improvement on last week.
FELLAINI – 5 – Poor game, couldn’t keep the ball very well.
Wolves (Out of 10)
HAHNEMANN – 7 – Kept Wolves in it during the first half.
FOLEY – 6 – Looked lively in second half revival.
CRADDOCK – 6 – Veteran’s experience paid dividends in solid performance.
BERRA – 6 – Defended well and won some important balls.
ELOKOBI – 6 – As above.
JARVIS – 7 – At times dangerous and gave the Everton defence a lot of trouble.
HENRY – 7 – Continued to tackle and bombard forward when Wolves were looking for the win.
JONES – 6 – Those expecting him to repeat the free kick party trick were left disappointed by and unremarkable performance.
WARD – 5 – Somewhat anonymous during the revival.
DOYLE – 6 – Caused some nervous moments but not a great deal else
EBANKS-BLAKE – 8 – Took his goal well and never gave up all afternoon.
GUEDIOURA – 7 – Made a great deal of difference and rejuvenated Wolves’ attacking options from midfield.
HALFORD – 6 – Worked his shift and that was about it.
STEARMAN – 5 – Ineffective up front and should probably be playing in the Championship.