With Wigan visiting Chelsea, West Ham facing bogey club Bolton, Blackpool entertaining Arsenal and Blackburn and Birmingham taking points off one another, this was Wolves’ big opportunity to improve their survival prospects – and they blew it.
Mick McCarthy’s men welcomed an Everton team with a questionable record against struggling sides and, despite having impressed at Molineux so far in 2011, fell victim to a potentially disastrous 3-0 defeat.
The hosts enjoyed more possession and created more chances but some uncharacteristically poor defending cost them as Jermaine Beckford nodded in the first and great strikes by Phil Neville and Diniyar Bilyaletdinov killed the tie before half-time.
The result leaves them down in 19th a point from safety, a margin that will increase if Blackpool and Aston Villa pick up points on Sunday afternoon, so the 10/11 offered by Ladbrokes on them going down is worth considering.
In the Black Country club’s favour is their perceived easy run-in, with tenth-placed neighbours West Brom the highest-ranked team they face in their final six fixtures.
Yet while that suggests that they have a great opportunity to rack up a big points haul in the closing weeks, their recent losses to Newcastle and Everton by a combined six goals indicates that they can’t be relied upon to take advantage.
Wigan remain clear favourites for the drop at 1/4 but are still only two points from safety and are scrapping admirably right now.
The defensive shortcomings that plagued them earlier this season are no longer as apparent, as they followed a goalless draw against Tottenham with a respectable 1-0 defeat at champions Chelsea, who beat them 6-0 in August.
Four of the Latics’ final six games are away from home though, so they realistically need to triumph over Blackpool (4/6 for the drop) at Bloomfield Road next week.
A £20 stake on Wolves finishing in the bottom three would provide an £18.18 profit. New customers can sign up here to claim a £30 free bet.