Everton can relax somewhat coming into this final Europa League group match, however the Toffees will be eager for a win against bottom club Krasnodar.
Everton manager Roberto Martinez will be happy with his side’s performances in Europe and he will expect a similar display against Krasnodar on Thursday evening at Goodison park.
The visitors to Merseyside have already been eliminated from the competition and the hosts will finish atop Group H irrespective of tomorrow’s result. Nevertheless, the Toffees will be eager to continue their momentum going into the knockout stages.
Krasnodar are making the 7000 mile round trip in the knowledge that they have effectively nothing to play for, however they could leapfrog Lille into third place should the French side slip up against Wolfsburg.
Everton have been struggling in the Premier League this season, securing a mere one win from their last six outings, however this competition will be seen as a very welcome distraction from the Premier League and a chance to clinch some much needed silverware, as well as another route into next season’s Champions League.
A handful of youngsters will feature in this match as Martinez rings the changes to the side which lost 1-0 to Manchester City at the weekend.
Tyias Browning, Christian Atsu, Ryan Ledson and Luke Garbutt should make the line-up alongside Tony Hibbert, Aiden McGeady and Samuel Eto’o and Aruna Kone will reappear following his lengthy absence through injury.
Krasnodar will be in confident spirits following the reverse fixture earlier in the competition which saw them take the lead before Everton managed to battle back to force a 1-1 stalemate.
The Toffees have won their last three European matches at Goodison, winning by a margin of three goals in the last two encounters. Even with a second string side, Everton will almost certainly prove to be too strong for the Russian minnows and a narrow victory will be carved out on Merseyside on Thursday.
Everton have managed clean sheets in the previous three group games with a mere two goals conceded to date and we feel that this record will remain unbroken tomorrow.
Samuel Eto’o got his name on the scoresheet to salvage a point for the Toffees in the reverse fixture and the Cameroon stalwart offers decent value at 28/17 with 888sport to hit the back of the net in this encounter.
Live coverage on ITV4 at 8:05pm, Thursday 11th December.
Our betting tips
Everton win-to-nil – Paddy Power 11/5
Under 2.5 Goals – 888sport 5/6
Anytime Goalscorer, Samuel Eto’o – 888sport 28/17