Report: Richarlison At The Double As Everton Beat Wolves

Richarlison scored twice and Alex Iwobi marked his Everton home debut with a goal as Marco Silva’s side came out on top of a rip-roaring contest with Wolves.

Brazilian Richarlison headed the winner on 80 minutes - moving Everton up to fifth in the embryonic Premier League table - shortly after Raul Jimenez appeared to have rescued a point for Wolves.

The game’s previous three goals all came inside a bonkers opening quarter hour, Richarlison and Iwobi striking either side of Romain Saiss’s close-range conversion.

Minutes five to 12 of this game comprehensively firmly put to bed the notion Everton’s games would be low on goals this term.

In that seven-minute period alone, Evertonians travelled the length of the emotional spectrum, going from elation to angst and back again.

Jimenez’s sucker-punch equaliser with 15 minutes remaining represented a painful blow, then, primarily because it arrived from the blindside.

From despair, however, came ecstasy, when Richarlison perfectly timed his run to meet a cross from Lucas Digne and magically head Everton in front. For the final time. 

Wolves went down to 10 men at the death, defender Willy Boly's two yellows for fouls on Richarlison adding up to a red.

First, the joy. Moise Kean showed just why he is already being tipped for a goal-laden career, the Italian instinctively moving into the box in case anything went awry as Conor Coady and Rui Patricio tried to clear their lines.

It should have been routine for the Wolves pair but they got their wires crossed and gave Kean a sniff.

Coady’s back pass hurried onto Patricio, who was forced by the looming Kean to rush his clearance.

Patricio succeeded only in driving the ball into Kean’s leg, which diverted it for the onrushing Richarlison.

He drilled the ball at the highest point of its bounce, sending it thumping off the turf and high into the goal.

The home team’s subsequent angst stemmed from some wonderful wideplay by Adama Traore.

Enigmatic Spaniard Traore – definitely more comfortable in his opponents’ half than when pinned on the back foot – dodged past left-back Digne’s frantic attempts to tackle and struck a low cross.

Seamus Coleman couldn’t complete the clearance, inadvertently inviting Saiss to thump his side level.

Wolves were made up.

But any suggestion the away team might be build up a head of steam was quickly dispelled by Everton’s compelling response.

Richarlison’s improvised over-the-head pass released Gylfi Sigurdsson down the right.

Sigurdsson still had a lot to do and his technique to plant a cross on Iwobi’s head was of the highest order.

Iwobi’s finish was far from straightforward, too, although he made it look that way, the forward arcing his back to generate the power required to defeat Patricio.

Cue bedlam.

Jordan Pickford had been a spectator throughout this drama – he had no chance whatsoever when Saiss drove in from a few yards.

But the goalkeeper’s ability to concentrate for 90 minutes is becoming a notable feature of his game.

He was dialled in here when Patrick Cutrone swiped the ball towards goal only to watch incredulously as Pickford leapt to his right to paw clear.

Pickford had an easier task to gather a low shot from striker Jimenez – Wolves’ two efforts at levelling sandwiched by Ruben Neves intercepting Coleman’s on-target effort at the other end.

Midfielder Neves retreated towards his own goal to make his intervention.

Everton defender Michael Keane merely stood tall to deny another Cutrone strike. Wolves’ approach play was sharp, Ruben Vinagre – subsequently booked for clattering Richarlison – dashed down the left to stand up a cross which Digne partially cleared.

Cutrone thought he’d equalised when he arrived to drill at goal but saw the ball deflect wide off Keane.

Coady was back in his team’s good books when he slid in to prevent Kean from connecting with a wicked Sigurdsson right-wing cross.

When Sigurdsson sent over the resultant corner it was met by Yerry Mina, jumping highest but being buffeted sufficiently to prevent him getting any purchase on his header.

Saiss got away with one when he tugged back the overlapping Coleman seven minutes after the break.

Right-back Coleman’s overlap was indicative of how Everton had returned from the break.

This was not going to be a backs-to-the-wall job. Everton, as is their wont, were hogging possession – and nothing typified the hosts' growing confidence on the ball more than the way they played out from the back on 54 minutes.

Old gold shirts were hounding and harrying as Pickford, Mina and Digne picked their way out of a tight spot.

Kean applied a blend of skill and raw power to bustle into the area three minutes later, the Italian’s progress checked by Ryan Bennett’s last-ditch tackle.

Goodison was up in arms when Bennett used nefarious means to stop Digne escaping on the left. The Englishman’s booking meant 60 per cent of his side’s back five were operating on a final warning, with Boly the man to finally walk after dumping Richarlison to the floor a second time.

Wolves midfield pass master Joao Moutinho came on for Saiss – after Kean had flashed a header over from Sigurdsson’s right-sided free-kick – and the worthy Fabian Delph was cautioned for downing Jimenez.

When Mexican Jimenez did reach the edge of Everton’s box on 65 minutes he was met by a perfectly-timed tackle from Andre Gomes.

Wolves, though, seemed to have lost some of their snap. Which was why it came as an almighty surprise when they equalised on 15 minutes.

Boly flicked on Bennett’s long throw and Jimenez sneaked in at the back post with a header of his own to score his third goal in three games against Everton.

Bernard and Dominic Calvert-Lewin replaced Iwobi and Keane, as Marco Silva went for the third goal which would surely put Wolves away.

So it proved.

Bernard fed a return pass to the fast-advancing Digne, who flung in a cross which was the equal of his delivery to tee up Richarlison in midweek.

Richarlison did exactly what he did at Lincoln, heading across the goalkeeper and inside the far post.

Goodison was still crackling when Patricio dived full length to deny Richarlison a treble.

The Portuguese keeper was exceptional again to spring to his right and stop Mina’s header from a Sigurdsson corner nestling inside the post.

Everton didn’t need the fourth, though. Wolves’s resolve had been broken. Finally.

Richarlison Doing Things We Expected

Marco Silva has fielded a number of questions over Richarlison of late. The nature of any queries surrounding the Brazilian will have a more familiar ring from here on, you suspect.

Manager Silva explained a couple of weeks into the campaign how his gun attacker would be firing soon enough.

Richarlison reported back for work later than most his teammates following the player’s Copa America exploits.

It is a measure of how highly Silva regards his South American charge that Richarlison was in Everton’s team from day one this term.

He has worked like stink in the Blues’ first few games and was rightly elated after brilliantly netting with his head at Lincoln City in midweek.

Scorer of 14 goals last season – his first with the Club – Richarlison is well and truly off the mark now.

This game was five minutes old when the 22-year-old ignited a breathless passage of play by crashing in his first Premier League goal of the campaign.

Indeed, Richarlison had already prompted Everton’s opening foray, moving infield to stroke the ball crossfield for the advancing Lucas Digne with the outside of his right boot.

The forward used his stronger foot to put his side in front. Richarlison’s nose for an opportunity propelled him into the penalty box as Conor Coady and Rui Patricio got themselves in a muddle.

Kudos to Moise Kean, too, for not allowing Patricio and easy out. The goalkeeper’s kick smacked Kean’s outstretched leg and diverted the ball to Richarlison who jammed his shot into the ground and rearing into the roof of the net.
In common with his colleagues, he’d have been cranky about Everton’s lead disappearing in short time.

So, along with a few others, he set about restoring it.

There was no obvious pass for Richarlison when the ball came bounding towards him on the flank. He has his back to goal but the awareness to know Gylfi Sigurdsson was haring down the right.

Richarlison skilfully hooked the ball forwards, giving Sigurdsson the opportunity to send in the delivery which Alex Iwobi headed home for his first Goodison Park goal.

If those two episodes lit up Goodison, then Richarlison was his usual picture of industry, too.

Everton came under the cosh around the 25-minute mark – Wolves’s wing backs Ruben Vinagre and Adama Traore supplementing an already heavily-stocked attacking unit – the pressure finally released when Richarlison convincingly headed a defensive corner halfway up the field.

It is Richarlison’s relentlessness as much as his silk which rubs up defenders the wrong way.

Wolves’ defender Vinagre, an attacking soul by nature, had plainly had enough of his man when he barrelled into Richarlison seven minutes before the break.

Vinagre’s yellow card left him treading a very fine line.

It was Richarlison’s trickery which plainly got Willy Boly’s goat shortly after half-time.

The Everton player was smoothly progressing through the centre of the pitch when giant defender Boly swiped his legs away to join Vinagre in the book.

A penny for the thoughts of those Wolves defenders, then, when Richarlison made his defining contribution.

There were echoes of his towering effort in midweek in the manner that Richarlison met Digne’s fabulous delivery to glance the ball across Patricio and send Goodison barmy.

He’d have had a hat-trick soon after had Patricio not been equal to a well-hit effort from the right. Richarlison wasn't done with Boly, drawing one more foul from the defender who was promptly ordered off.

Head Boy

Alex Iwobi was yet to wear an Everton shirt in anger when Marco Silva was telling him to score more goals.

The manager spoke in his first media briefing following Iwobi’s deadline-day signing of the Nigerian historically punching below his weight with respect to his scoring numbers.

Iwobi cites a conversation with former Arsenal striker Thierry Henry for opening his eyes to what is required from players operating in the final third.

"You can play as well as you want,” Henry counselled Iwobi, “but only goals and assists win you any credit as a forward”.

Iwobi has shown a penchant for the spectacular since emerging at Arsenal, his valedictory effort for the Gunners was a shot which threatened to dislodge the net form its hinges in May’s Europa League final.

If one of his earlier pops at goal for Everton had gone in, they’d have been bracketed in the same category. A delicious curler at Aston Villa was tipped wide, the post was cracked with a low drive in the same game.

Against Lincoln, Iwobi was inches from scoring with an impudent toe poke form 18 yards.

When he did score it was with a poacher’s header, more Ian Wright than Henry, to reference his old club.

Here, Iwobi stirred memories of Duncan Ferguson in the way he leapt to convert Gylfi Sigurdsson’s right-wing cross on 11 minutes.

The finish will have delighted his boss. Equally, Silva was surely thrilled that the 23-year-old was in the right place to meet Sigurdsson’s delivery.

It was instructive to witness blue shirts bombing into the area in numbers whenever the ball was out wide.

Everton had scored once in three Premier League games before this one.

But the four they scored earlier in the week evidently emboldened Silva’s side as an attacking force.

Iwobi’s immediate impact on Everton was reflected in the collective intake of breath around Goodison when the player went down. And again in the ovation which greeted his return. He made way following Wolves' second goal but Iwobi had done plenty to further grow his popularity rating among Evertonians.

Numbers Adding Up

The Club’s stated ambition this term is to improve every aspect of the team’s performance season-on-season.

They achieved progress in a host of departments last term and the early signs point towards a similar advance this term.

Beating Wolves lifts Everton onto seven points from four matches – one point more than they’d accrued at the same juncture 12 months ago.

Perhaps more relevant, is that from the corresponding four games last season – Fulham substitute for Aston Villa for the purposes of this calculation given the Londoners won their top-flight place through the play offs – Everton claimed two points: one each from Crystal Palace away and Watford at home.
This fixture was lost 3-1 in February. Meantime, Everton have lost only once t Goodison, against champions Manchester City – also the last time to score here until Saiss snapped the Blues’ miserly home streak in its 549th minute.

Everton would have wanted to find their shooting boots earlier but Silva’s side appears intent on making up for lost time.

After hitting four against Lincoln, that is seven goals in two games – provided by four different players.

Everton’s character has been put to the test on plenty of occasions this week and they have answered in magnificent style on each occasion.