The excitement around Molineux is palpable as Wolverhampton Wanderers prepare for their first Premier League encounter since 2012, with Everton set to provide the opposition on the opening day of the campaign. With plenty of quality in the ranks and momentum behind them, Nuno’s side should get their season off to a winning start on Saturday, an option available at 13/10 with Ladbrokes.
Wolves took the second tier by storm last time out, which was not exactly a surprise given their activity in the summer transfer market. New additions Ruben Neves, Barry Douglas, Willy Boly, Diego Jota, Leo Bonatini and John Ruddy all played their part as the West Midlands outfit accumulated 99 points in their 46 outings, finishing comfortably clear of third-placed Fulham to win the Championship in style.
Critics may argue that the club’s relationship with superagent Jorge Mendes was the difference between finishing first or in mid-table, but although it is impossible to ignore the benefits that access to Mendes’ client list brings, Nuno and his players deserve credit for getting the job done. After all, several other teams have spent big money and failed to get into the Premier League in the past.
Unsurprisingly, Wolves have had another busy summer as they prepare for life in the promised land. Boly, Bonatini and Jota have all been signed on permanent deals after spending 2017/18 on loan at Molineux, while Raul Jimenez, Jonny, Leander Dendoncker, Rui Patricio, Joao Moutinho and Adama Traore are among the completely new faces.
Nuno has already stated that he wants his team to stay true to the principles that got them to the Premier League in the first place, so we can expect Wolves to play on the front foot and look to dominate possession wherever possible.
There will, of course, be times where they need to switch it up and adopt a more cautious mindset, but a home game against Everton on the opening weekend will be an occasion where Wolves attempt to be proactive and control proceedings.
Everton have also been active in the transfer market, while there has also been a change in the dugout at Goodison Park. Sam Allardyce successfully pulled the Toffees clear of the drop zone last term, but he was never going to be a long-term appointment and it was no surprise to see the club go back in for Marco Silva – their principal target last autumn – at the end of the 2017/18 campaign.
Marcel Brands has also arrived as the new director of football, so there has been plenty of change throughout the Merseyside club in recent months.
Lucas Digne, Kurt Zouma Richarlison, Andre Gomes, Bernard and Yerry Mina were all signed by Everton, the latter three on a busy deadline day for Silva, Brands and co.
When you also take into account January additions Theo Walcott and Cenk Tosun, there has been quite the overhaul at Goodison in the last 12 months, and it will be interesting to see whether Silva succeeds in his bid to bring in a more expansive, attacking style of play after the unpopular reactive football practiced during Allardyce’s ill-fated tenure.
Having waited around nine months to land their Portuguese, it is imperative that Everton do not panic if results are mixed in the early weeks of the campaign; their start to the season does not look the toughest on paper, but it may take a while for the Toffees to get used to Silva’s coaching methods and favoured approach.
There is certain to be a cracking atmosphere at Molineux for Saturday’s late kick-off, and the outcome could depend on whether Everton are able to stand firm in the early stages of the encounter. Indeed, Nuno will emphasise the importance of a fast start to his players, who will be roared on by a vociferous and excited home crowd.
The Toffees may therefore have to focus on counter-attacks rather than possession play, an approach which could suit speedy wide men Walcott and Richarlison. If one thing’s for sure, it’s that this is set to be a cracking game for anybody considering a spot of football betting for the opening fixtures.
Wolves and Everton will be keen to start their season with a win and both teams possess their fair share of attacking talent, so this could be an open, entertaining affair. With that in mind, consider putting some money on a home victory with both teams to score, a wager which is made available at odds of 16/5 by Karamba. Another option is over 2.5 goals in total, which is offered at a price of 59/50 by 888sport.