Toffees can stall the Dynamo on Merseyside
Everton’s form in the Europa League is in stark contrast to their troubles in the Premier League and Roberto Martinez’s men will fancy their chances of further progress against Dynamo Kiev. But they’ll probably need to win the first leg to give themselves a fighting chance in the Ukraine next week.
The Toffees demolished Young Boys of Switzerland in the last round, scoring seven times over the two legs. Romelu Lukaku scored five of their goals and the Belgian international can be a real handful when in the mood.
In fact, it’s a bit of a mystery why the Merseysiders have struggled so badly on the domestic front this season, though they have lost key players to injury at crucial times and some are still striving for their best form.
Ross Barkley, Leighton Baines, Phil Jagielka and John Stones are all England internationals, however, while Darron Gibson, Seamus Coleman and James McCarthy play for the Republic Of Ireland so it isn’t a lack of experience or quality. They’ll have the backing of a big crowd at Goodison Park but that is unlikely to faze Dynamo.
Serhiy Rebrov’s team won five of their six group games and currently top the Ukrainian League.
Andriy Yarmolenko, Dutchman Jeremain Lens and Morocco’s Younes Belhanda are all top-class players but they did lose the away leg of their last 32 tie at French side Guincamp and face part of their stadium being closed for the second leg of this tie after a pitch invasion led to their home match with Guincamp being temporarily suspended.
Everton have become a bit of a Jekyll-and-Hyde team but they do have the quality to go a long way in the Europa League if they can get their best XI on the pitch and seem to be taking the competition seriously.
They’ve a good record at Goodison and can take a Round of 16 first-leg lead into the deciding game as Dynamo are a much more dangerous outfit on their own turf. The Toffees are 5/4 and three total goals can be backed at 13/4.
The match kicks off at 8.05pm on Thursday, March 12 at Goodison Park.