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Ancelotti employs a very different attacking masterplan

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It was also the League match that Everton have won with James Rodriguez in the starting line-up since November when they beat Fulham at Craven Cottage.

Not only because it returned the Toffees to winning ways and made it five wins from six in the Premier League but also because it was secured by a side that played 76 minutes without a recognised striker on the pitch… and even then, despite the fact that he often plays up front for Brazil, Richarlison, who came off the bench for Gylfi Sigurdsson, isn’t usually regarded as a centre-forward.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s absence for a Premier League fixture for the first time all season was compounded over the weekend by a knock for Richarlison that meant he wasn’t deemed fit enough to start this game and it presented Carlo Ancelotti with a choice between starting Cenk Tosun for a second successive game or going for something altogether more bold and conventional.

If the defeat to West Ham on New Year’s Day was annoying, dispiriting and had you admonishing yourself for thinking that top four might be an option for this Everton squad without another significant injection of quality in the January transfer window, this win over Wolves was, obviously, a hugely uplifting one.

The Colombian played the full 90 minutes of the frustrating games against Leeds and Burnley and then missed the next four games through injury before returning as a substitute against the Hammers 11 days ago.

A hard-earned draw to take into another potentially testing away encounter at Aston Villa would have been gratefully received but, as Ancelotti reiterated after the game, he wanted his side to get back to winning ways to make up for what happened against West Ham.

With the likes of Ruben Neves, Pedro Neto, Nélson Semedo and teenager Rayan Aït-Nouri in their ranks, Wolves carried plenty of threats of their own and they had wiped Everton’s lead out within eight minutes of falling behind.
For more news relating to West Ham, visit our sister site WHU Latest Live.
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