Everton look set to move a step closer to the Europa League knock-out stages tonight.
The Toffees are looking good to cement their position at the top of the Group H table by defeating LOSC Lille on Thursday evening at Goodison Park.
Everton’s 4-1 hammering of Bundesliga side Wolfsburg was followed up by a 1-1 draw against Krasnodar and another stalemate with tonight’s opponents Lille in the reverse fixture last month. As a result, the Merseyside team top the table with five points and look good to add to that total with a home win this evening.
Roberto Martinez will be aiming to steer his side into the last 32 of the competition and victory this evening coupled with a Wolfsburg defeat of Krasnodar would lift the Toffees to a five point lead over their rivals with two matches left to play.
Everton have enjoyed an upturn in fortunes of late with two victories and one draw from their last three games and they will be eager to carry that form into the Europa League.
Lille have been struggling to find the back of the net in the French Ligue 1 this season with a mere nine goals scored in their 12 matches to date, however Everton were troubled by the pace of Belgian forward Divock Origi in the last meeting between the sides and he will need marshalling in this encounter.
Star Everton striker Romelu Lukaku looks good to make a start in this clash, however our money is on Samuel Eto’o to break the deadlock, Bet365 offering 5/1 that he opens the scoring for the home side this evening.
Lille will be featuring Manchester City loanee Marcos Lopes, however he was take off during the Saint-Etienne match last weekend following his recent recovery from injury.
Lille’s previous three European matches have each featured less than 2.5 goals and this encounter looks set to continue that record, both sides likely to be extremely cautious with a place in the knockout stages getting closer to reality.
Home advantage will play a part tonight, as will superior Everton strength and this should prove enough to ensure that the points stay on Merseyside. Eto’o scored late in the day to ensure a share of the spoils at Krasnodar and now that he has found his feet at Goodison, we feel that he will get his name on the scoresheet tonight.
Live coverage on ITV4 at 8:05pm, Thursday 6th November.
Our betting tips
Everton win – SkyBet 4/5
First Goalscorer, Samuel Eto’o – Bet365 5/1
Under 2.5 goals – Ladbrokes 7/10