Wolves brushed aside Everton 3-0 at Molineux on Sunday with new boy Daniel Podence shining on his first Premier League start for Nuno Espirito Santo’s side.
The Portuguese, who joined the club from Olympiakos in January, was brought down for a penalty which Raul Jimenez converted for his 25th goal in all competitions this season just before the break.
From then on it was all Wolves as first Leander Dendoncker glanced home a second a minute into the second period, before substitute Diogo Jota wrapped up the scoring after being set up by a wonder pass from Ruben Neves.
Wolves remain in contention for a place in next season’s Europe League after moving up to sixth, three points behind Manchester United – who play on Monday night – while the visitors stay 11th.
Wolves: Rui Patricio (6); Boly (6), Coady (6), Saiss (6); Doherty (7), Ruben Neves (8), Dendoncker (7), Jonny (6); Neton (7), Jimenez (8), Podence (9)
Subs: Jota (7), Traore (7)
Everton: Pickford (5); Baines (6), Mina (6), Keane (5), Digne (7); Walcott (5), Davies (6), Sigurdsson (5), Gordon (6); Calvert-Lewin (6), Richarlison (6)
Subs: Coleman (6), Branthwaite (6), Iwobi (6), Kean (6), Bernard (6)
Man of the match: Daniel Podence
How Wolves maintained their push for Europe
Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti opted for a change in formation, utilising three at the back with Lucas Digne and the returning Theo Walcott as full backs.
But it made little effect in a first half dominated by the hosts.
After two straight Premier League defeats, Wolves head coach Nuno decided to freshen his line-up up by introducing Podence for his first league start, and the Portuguese repaid his compatriot’s faith with an all-action display.
The forward was involved in the first half’s pivotal moment when his quick feet on the right edge of the box lured Digne into a rash tackle from behind.
Wolves made three changes from their loss to Sheffield United with Adama Traore only fit enough for the bench, while there was a first league start for Daniel Podence and Joao Moutinho also dropped to the bench with Leander Dendoncker starting in midfield.
Everton also made three changes from the 1-1 draw against Southampton with Leighton Baines drafted in for just his fourth start of the season, while Theo Walcott made is first appearance since the restart and Gylfi Sigurdsson replaced the injured Andre Gomes.
The reliable Jimenez kept his cool to dink home his sixth successful penalty in first-half stoppage time to maintain his 100 per cent record from the spot as Wolves deservedly lead at the break. Even though Ancelotti made changes for the second half, they had little impact on the flow of play.
One of the players introduced at the interval, young Jarrad Branthwaite, immediately gave away a free-kick near the right touchline, from which Dendoncker cleverly glanced home into the far corner after Pedro Neto’s inviting delivery towards the penalty spot.
Those twin strikes either side of half-time knocked the wind out of Everton and thereafter it was just a question of how many more Wolves would score and it should have been more than just Jota’s 74th-minute effort, drilled home after a sensational 60-yard pass from the impressive Neves.
Opta stats – Spot-on Jimenez keeps Wolves in touch
- Wolves striker Raúl Jiménez has scored with all six of the penalties he has taken in the Premier League; only Yaya Touré (11), Dimitar Berbatov (9), Jan Mølby (7) and Rickie Lambert (7) have a better 100% ratio in the competition
- This was the third time Wolves have won a game by three goals in the Premier League under Nuno Espírito Santo – prior to his reign, they had only won once in the competition by more than two goals (4-0 v Blackpool in February 2011)
- Everton have only kept one clean sheet in their last 17 away games in the Premier League, conceding at least two goals in 10 of these fixtures
- When facing sides starting the day in the top half, Everton have won just three of their last 32 Premier League away games (D10 L19)
Man of the Match – Daniel Podence
All eyes were naturally on Podence after Nuno gave the forward his first-ever start in the Premier League on Sunday lunch time and boy did the new man impress at Molineux.
The 24-year-old had his team’s first shot of the game, a low effort that Jordan Pickford did well to keep out, before some neat control saw him brought down for the penalty from which the hosts open the scoring in first-half stoppage time.
“I’ve been so impressed with Podence, he is so exciting and the best player on the pitch, making things happen and always looking to get on the ball,” was Jamie Redknapp’s verdict on the Portuguese at the break.
And the player continued to impress in the second half to suggest there will be plenty more appearances to come in a Wolves shirt, with one particular bit of mesmerising skill on the right byline almost resulting in a first goal after a horrible Pickford fumble.
Wolves travel to Burnley on Wednesday (6pm) and then host Crystal Palace four days later (Monday July 20, kick-off 8.15pm), before concluding their season with a visit to Chelsea (Sunday July 26, kick-off 4pm).
Meanwhile, Everton entertain struggling Aston Villa on Thursday, live on Sky Sports (6pm), before facing a tough-looking trip to take on Sheffield United at Bramall Lane on Monday July 20 (kick-off 6pm) and then they bring their campaign to a finish with a home clash against relegation-threatened Bournemouth on Sunday July 26.