Everton welcome Lille to Goodison Park on Thursday evening for what could be a crucial game in the battle for the first two spots. Group H is evenly poised with all four teams in contention for the knock out stages. The Toffees have a great opportunity to stamp their authority in this tricky group in front of their crowd. A win will make them favorites to advance with two games to go.
Everton got their Europa League campaign off to a flyer with a 4-1 demolition of Wolfsburg, before drawing away to Kransodar and Lille. Their opponents however, are yet to find a victory, with all their matches ending in a tie. Another draw will do no goods to Lille, so the French side will surely set up to attack. Everton are an offensive side under Martinez, scoring goals for fun, but also conceding a lot. All these facts point towards an entertaining game with plenty of goals.
The Merseyside outfit will be boosted by the return of Ross Barkley. The talented attacking midfielder is ready to take the spotlight and guide his team to another impressive victory. “I am buzzing to be back,” he told the club’s official website. “It was frustrating at the time being injured and it was hard to be in the stands watching all the lads out there playing. I am relieved to now be back out on the pitch.”
Unfortunately for Roberto Martinez, he won’t be able to rely on Alcaraz, Oviedo, Stones Gibson, Mirallas and Kone, all ruled out with injuries. Lille will be without Balmont and Delaplace, while Marcos Lopez is a doubt after limping off against Saint-Etienne on Saturday. Still, the French side have plenty of talent including, the Belgian international Divock Origi who troubled Everton’s defense a fortnight ago.
Lille have failed to score on four of their five previous visits to England, but Toffee’s shaky defense will offer them plenty of opportunities. We expect to see a high-tempo encounter with Everton edging it. William Hill offers 1.83 odds for an Everton win and we’ll stick 7 units on it. Alternatively we suggest betting on both teams to score priced at 2.00 with the same bookmaker.