Everton have been far better in the Europa League than they have in the Premier League, but they face a tough test against Ukrainian table-toppers Dynamo Kiev.
Everton v Dynamo Kiev
Thursday March 12, 20:05
Live on ITV 1
Everton started this campaign in high spirits after a successful first season under Roberto Martinez. However, a bid for Champions League qualification failed to materialise, and the Toffees are now more concerned with staying in the Premier League.
The Europa League has provided disgruntled fans with a bit of succour now and then, and after demolishing Young Boys of Berne both in Switzerland and on Merseyside, Everton now face Dynamo Kiev.
The Ukrainian league leaders recovered from a bizarre 2-1 first-leg defeat at French side Guingamp in the last 32, a game that saw them play the entire second half with nine men. That was only their third defeat of the entire season, and they recovered in the second leg, winning 3-1 to secure a place in the last 16.
Everton are 2.3611/8 favourites, but despite their strong home record in Europe this term (three wins in four games at Goodison) I just can’t support them at that price. Dynamo have key players missing, with Younes Belhanda and Serhiy Rybalka both suspended and Jeremain Lens carrying a hip injury, but this is still a technically gifted outfit that is in the winning habit.
Everton welcome back defender John Stones from suspension, and Leighton Baines is in contention after injury, but I just can’t bring myself to support the hosts. Martinez’s men have won just three of their last 15 games, and two of those victories were against Young Boys.
I’m attracted to the Both Teams To Score market for this one. Dynamo will push hard for at least one away goal, and they haven’t failed to score in a match since a goalless draw with Karpaty in early November. Indeed, Dynamo have only failed to hit the net in two of their last 25 games.
Everton certainly have the firepower to score, with Romelu Lukaku saving some of his best displays for this competition. The Belgian scored five goals across two legs against Young Boys, and he is a generous 2.89/5 in the To Score market.
Back Yes in the Both Teams To Score market at 1.8810/11
Back Romelu Lukaku to score at 2.89/5 (Sportsbook product)
2014/15 Europa League P/L (1pt per bet)
Points Staked: 63
Points Returned: 65.76
P/L: +2.76 points