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Everton vs VfL Wolfsburg

by | 18/09/2014  Comments (44)  jump
Match Preview

Everton kick off a busy schedule that will see them play four times in 10 days as the first real test of the depth of Roberto Martinez's squad begins in earnest. With the trip to Swansea looming next Tuesday, the Blues will open campaigns on two more fronts in the coming week and then have the small matter of the Merseyside derby to follow to close out the month.

First, though, Everton's involvement in the Europa League begins with the visit of Wolfsburg to Goodison under the lights this evening. A glance across the Park on Tuesday evening at Liverpool's opponents, Ludogrets, would have still rankled Evertonians that the Toffees were arguably handed a Champions League-quality group for for their return to European competition after five seasons, but it sets up for an attractive contest against the Bundesliga team.

Boasting the likes of Kevin de Bryne, veteran winger Ivica Olic, ex-Arsenal striker Nicolas Bendtner and rumoured Martinez target, Ivan Perisic (although, thankfully, he won't be involved as he suffered a shoulder injury last month), Wolfsburg will pose a stern challenge to Everton.

They have yet to win this season, though, beginning their League season with two draws and a defeat, albeit to Bayern Munich, so they have yet to hit any stride.

The Blues, of course, got their first victory on the board at the Hawthorns last Saturday as Romelu Lukaku got off the mark and Kevin Mirallas continued his impressive start to the season. Wolfsburg manager Dieter Hecking has admitted that he tried to sign Lukaku over the summer and the Belgian will almost certainly start up front for Martinez, most likely continuing his partnership with Steven Naismith.

Samuel Eto'o, an absentee from the West Brom game with a slight groin strain, has been passed fit for this one but is unlikely to be risked from the start as he feels his way back to full match sharpness.

If there are to be changes to the attacking side of the team, it's possible that Steven Pienaar could start in place of Aiden McGeady, with Mirallas switching flanks, with Christian Atsu waiting in the wings to get more playing time and experience in the Blues' first team as a possible second-half option. The same could apply to Muhamed Besic, whose error against Chelsea on his Premier League debut was followed up by a (harsh, admittedly) booking on Saturday in another late cameo. James McCarthy and Gareth Barry would be the expected partnership this evening.

At the back, Martinez's dilemma over which central-defensive partnership to deploy is somewhat removed by Sylvain Distin's continuing unavailability with a dead leg and it's likely that John Stones will continue alongside Phil Jagielka.

It's in goal, though, where many eyes will be to see if the manager opts for Joel Robles over Tim Howard. The Spaniard was the "cup 'keeper" last season, playing in the American's stead in both the League and FA Cup, but he has been unconvincing in the estimation of many and there is a feeling that Martinez needs to put his best foot forward for the Europa League and stick with his best goalkeeper.

Though the attendance looks like it will be down from the packed houses that greeted Arsenal and Chelsea last month — an inevitable consequence of the glut of matches this month, perhaps — it nevertheless promises to be an exciting evening as the Grand Old Lady hosts European football once again.

With Lille and the arguably lesser-known quantity that is Krasnodar also in Group H, there will certainly be no easy games and the Blues will know that getting off the a flyer with victory over Wolfsburg would really enhance their chances of getting out of the group. It would certainly inject real confidence into the side that they can top the group and confirm fears among their rival sides that they were landed with the club from pot 3 that nobody wanted.

Kick off: 8.05pm
Live coverage: ITV4

Full coverage: ToffeeWeb Match Reports

Reader Comments (44)

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Christopher Wallace
1 Posted 18/09/2014 at 08:09:11
Very important to start off with a win here, and I’m confident enough to put money on us at evens – I don’t bet on Everton unless I’m very confident and am getting a good price.

I think Lille are the toughest team in the group, but we should really be beating them all at home. Wolfsburg haven’t had a great start to season, and I think Krasnador have been even worse.

3-1 Everton. COYB

Ajay Gopal
2 Posted 18/09/2014 at 08:21:42
Our team looks formidable with Lukaku, Mirallas, Barry, Naismith, McCarthy, Baines, Coleman, Howard, surely we have the big names to match Wolfsburg's own. If our team performs to their potential, Martinez gets his tactics spot-on and we don't make silly mistakes in defence, this should be a 2-0 home banker.
James Richard
3 Posted 18/09/2014 at 08:14:57
Have to say I’m a tad disappointed in the amount of tickets sold for tonight. I do however believe got club got the pricing of the tickets totally wrong. I got mine for 㿈 but non-season-tickets holders are paying 㿍 and over. Couple this with the weekend’s game and its starts to get expensive if you don’t have a season ticket. 㿀 would’ve been ideal for Europa League games and most definitely would’ve seen a bigger gate in my opinion.
Ryan Snyder
4 Posted 18/09/2014 at 08:31:04
I know some of you don't care much about the Europa League, but personally, I'm really looking forward to this competition. With the amount of youth in our side, this experience could prove to be extremely valuable down the road if Everton are able to clinch a spot in the Champions Leagues in years to come. On top of all that, getting out of a fairly tough group, for Europa League standards, could give the side loads of confidence for the knockout stage.

I made sure to take off from work early – I live in the States – so I can watch this match, knowing that I'll have to work extra hours on Friday, so anything less than three points will be a disappointment to me. I hope there's a large walk-up crowd for this game too, because I want to see the Old Lady rocking on my TV tonight. Have fun to all of you heading to Goodison. Wish I could be there.

Phil Walling
5 Posted 18/09/2014 at 08:55:33
Like many others, I shall be watching from my armchair and possibly 'giving it some' on the live Forum.

As voiced earlier, my biggest concern is that Martinez will plump for the useless Robles in goal. If so, disaster beckons !

Peter Murray
6 Posted 18/09/2014 at 09:16:18
Interesting point about Robles.

He has the build to dominate the goal area in contrast to Howard who is a "reaction" keeper.Against the likes of Bendtner (and without the physical presence of Distin) this could be crucial.

We have been weak in defending set pieces partly because of the lack of defensive height.

Robles does need games at the highest level if he is to develop his potential.

Tommy Coleman
7 Posted 18/09/2014 at 09:46:16
This competition should be our No 1. priority.

I hope he plays our strongest side.

Tony J Williams
8 Posted 18/09/2014 at 09:36:27
Going to this one, not too sure about the other two home games.

My missus is up the duff so have to prioritise my money now and almost 㿊 for a Cup I don't really like is a little too much for me.

Back in Europe so looking forward to this first game.

I am with Phil on this too, Robles is a no no

Jamie Crowley
9 Posted 18/09/2014 at 10:20:46
I'm with James at 4. I am a bit disappointed to hear the attendance numbers are down for a European game under the lights at Goodison.

Understandable as it would get wicked expensive for most to attend so many games in such a short period of time.

Hope those that are there make it feel as if 38,000 showed up.

The beginning of some type of squad rotation - it will be very interesting to see how Martinez handles the glut of games upcoming. I trust him to get it right.

Tony J Williams
11 Posted 18/09/2014 at 10:54:29
Jamie, I would imagine the problem for a lot of fans are that they are simply too far away to make the trip after work.

As you said, it was pretty short notice too, so difficult to get time away from work.

I am lucky in that I will be home by 6:10 from work and able to get a quick bite then on to Seguras by 7:15, quick pint then the game.

Whatever the turn out, you can bet it will be noisy

James Morgan
12 Posted 18/09/2014 at 10:43:19
Looking forward to this game, unfortunately will be watching on tv. I agree it's a little pricey for a group game, I can understand latter stages being 30-40 quid but this should've been a 25 quid game in my opinion. Nevertheless, COYB!
Jamie Crowley
13 Posted 18/09/2014 at 11:07:28
I wanted to be there after work, but alas, the trip from Florida won't allow it. ;0)

Listen very carefully while at the game Tony and you might just hear a faint sound at Goodison tonight from me across the pond...

Blow the roof off please. This is the beginning of our European adventure against a very capable side.

If it's a smaller crowd but they really get behind the team and are raucous I think it will help.

Christopher Wallace
14 Posted 18/09/2014 at 11:17:55
How many tickets sold? Haven’t seen a figure yet...
Brian Harrison
15 Posted 18/09/2014 at 11:17:14
No Doubt Wolfsburg will be like most German teams well organised and seem to get results when not playing at their best.

I don't like the Europa league one little bit but I will be there tonight, maybe the gate tonight will tell how enthusiastic our fans are for the Europa league. I know finances dictate but if this was a Champions league game the place would have been sold out weeks ago. I just hope that we don't pick up any injuries, and like some others I am not convinced about Robles.

Steve King
16 Posted 18/09/2014 at 11:27:37
I've taken a half day to get the train up from London in time for tonight's match.
I then have to get the train at 6am tomorrow to be back in the office for 9.
With trains, hotel and 㿍 ticket price it isn't a cheap date with my oldest love but its well worth it. I cant understand why there isn't more demand for our first European game under the lights for years??!!
Steve King
17 Posted 18/09/2014 at 11:32:30
Tim Howard shred a picture of his new boots on twitter "new wheels for tomorrow night vs.Wolfsburg..."
I really hope this means he's playing!
Jon Ferguson
19 Posted 18/09/2014 at 12:02:29
I'm struggling financially at the moment, things should look brighter after October. Defo going a European game around then. I agree the club should really be charging 㿀, but 㿊 is not enough to put me off. Going to love watching it.

I think we need to take the competition seriously, but don't think that means not playing the youngsters. Indication is that Luke Garbutt is ready and so it wouldn't be a shock if he starts. If he does I doubt we'll see Atsu (as it'd be a brand new left side).

I wouldn't mind seeing Besic with one of either McArthy or Barry.

Kevin Tully
20 Posted 18/09/2014 at 12:05:17
Massively looking forward to tonight. Never understood why anyone wouldn't want us playing in Europe - even though it's a second tier competition. You would think we had been in the CL every season!

I also think it will help us at this time of the season, the more games the better, hopefully we can start to fire on all cylinders. I want to see how Besic handles himself for a full 90 min's, also want to see Eto'o and Kone given a run.

First bevvy at five, and who doesn't want to see more Everton?

Peter Cummings
21 Posted 18/09/2014 at 12:04:43
With so many games in a short space of time and the game live on the box the attendance is bound to be affected, but our fantastic away support,as they did at the Hawthorns,will make it seem like a full house,especially if we can score
DonÂ’t know a lot about Wolfsburg but by all accounts they are a good strong outfit so we will have to go at them from the start.and RMs selection will be crucial, Robles in goal should be a nono would like to see Peanuts included and both Atsu and Eto,o given some playing time,otherwise the same side as last week,
The Euro ref will also be a factor as we saw across the park last night, looking forward to an entertaining game so will be in front of the box at 3pm here in Ontario, All the best lads.
Dave Pritchard
22 Posted 18/09/2014 at 13:02:56
Tony (12). You’ve only got yourself to blame for that one. Have you no control man?
Agree with posters who say that the club has the pricing wrong.
35 000 x 㿀 is about the same as 22 000 x 㿍 . Bigger crowd creates a better atmosphere and would also allow some people who’ve never been before to come along, potentially gaining some new supporters. You have to question the pricing structure for a Thursday night game that is on mainstream TV.
Sam Hoare
23 Posted 18/09/2014 at 13:10:13
Now I'm in the US, anyone know if it might be on TV and what channel?

I think winning this comp is genuinely our best shot at CL. Plus imagine if it stopped 4th placed RS getting in.

Hope he puts out a strong team.

Dave Pritchard
24 Posted 18/09/2014 at 13:14:58
Post 23. Sorry, meant Tony (9)
Clarence Yurcan
26 Posted 18/09/2014 at 13:40:45
Sam it is on TV live here, Fox Sports 1
Sam Hoare
27 Posted 18/09/2014 at 13:48:57
Thanks Clarence.

Daniel, shame, though I still think we should prioritise it as a route to the promised land.

Tony J Williams
28 Posted 18/09/2014 at 13:53:01
I know Dave, worse was planned!
Harold Matthews
29 Posted 18/09/2014 at 13:40:16
We'll definitely field our strongest team. They worked hard for this European spot and will all want to play.
Jamie Crowley
30 Posted 18/09/2014 at 13:54:58
Sam -

If you have Directv, channel 219.

Welcome to America. What city out of curiosity?

Sam Hoare
31 Posted 18/09/2014 at 13:56:50
Thanks Jamie. Still working our tv out! In New York for 3 months while the missus works on Broadway.
James Stewart
32 Posted 18/09/2014 at 14:03:31
The game is on ITV4 in the UK.

I'd go with:

Coleman Stones Jagielka Baines
McCarhty Barry
Lukaku Naismith Mirallas

Denis Richardson
33 Posted 18/09/2014 at 14:34:30
Simply no room for RM to fuck about with the line up - play the strongest side (injuries/fitness permitting).

Worry about Palace at 11pm tonight!

Tom Bowers
34 Posted 18/09/2014 at 14:33:55
Hopefully a winning start against solid opposition and without needing the usual luck that Redshite enjoyed yet again in their game.

They should be in the right mood but have to be careful not to play too openly. Schalke proved against Chelski that the German teams have quality that more than match the Prem. teams.

Amit Vithlani
35 Posted 18/09/2014 at 14:31:52
Our performances going forward in every game so far this season have given me confidence that we will, er, score.

Defensively still a few question marks especially set plays and straight long balls. Robles starting would just add to the jitters.

Would prefer we start with our best available GK and CB's. Happy to see rotation where the replacements are of similar quality.

Eugene Ruane
36 Posted 18/09/2014 at 15:05:59
Am heading to the game tonight and really looking forward to it.

Goodison, lights, continental opposition, love it.

Like Dennis Richardson, I really hope we play the strongest side we can.

Nach oben die Toffees!

Linda Morrison
37 Posted 18/09/2014 at 17:15:53
Totally agree with Dennis, worry about Palace after tonight.

Can anyone let me know what is a dead leg and how long they take to recover?

It's a lot of games and expense for people so that will influence numbers. Either that or they are all glued to the T.V for the Scottish Result!

Linda Morrison
38 Posted 18/09/2014 at 17:15:53
Totally agree with Dennis, worry about Palace after tonight.

Can anyone let me know what is a dead leg and how long they take to recover?

It's a lot of games and expense for people so that will influence numbers. Either that or they are all glued to the T.V for the Scottish Result!

Harold Matthews
39 Posted 18/09/2014 at 17:29:51
Spurs have made 10 changes from the weekend. Hope Roberto sticks with our best side.
Tony Abrahams
40 Posted 18/09/2014 at 17:06:02
Fair play to you Steve King, I hope your oldest love makes it worthwhile for you mate. Only think the reason the gate won't be that high is down to cost and think the club have got the pricing badly wrong. 㿀/㾶 would have guaranteed a near full house and also shown a bit of loyalty to the clubs 32,000 season ticket holders, in return.

Money is tight for a lot of people and will probably be proved by tonight's gate. Not much Loyalty shown in football though and after looking forward to going the game my mood has now changed, when I think about how much we are regularly taken for granted!


It's a cup we would all love to win though, and I'm sure the shortfall will be made-up, when at least 10,000 Toffees travel to Lille next month!

Brian Garside
41 Posted 18/09/2014 at 17:49:03

try this link


Brin Williams
42 Posted 18/09/2014 at 18:08:47
'Can anyone let me know what is a dead leg and how long they take to recover?'

Well Linda, and with a name like Linda I take it you are one of the fairer with just two legs!.

The other variety will know that there are different types of 'legs'. You have 'Long Legs" and 'Short Legs' you have silly things like 'Mid on' and 'Mid Off' . You have 'Slips" and 'Gulleys" You have 'Backward short Legs' and you have things like 'Long Stops'.

But to cut to the chase and try to answer your question - if one receives a nasty delivery that 'Slips" through your 'Gulley and hits you "Mid On' your "Short Leg'
you are in trouble and will normally result in a 'Dead Leg' for some considerable time.

Protection against such things is by using a box - Bill Kenright has a box but people still try to catch him with a 'Googlie' and 'Bye' and 'Bye' one day his "Quick Flash outside his off stump' will be the enough to end his innings - until then he continues to 'Stone Wall' with a 'straight bat' and tries to 'Keeps his End Up"

Harold Matthews
44 Posted 18/09/2014 at 19:09:22
No changes from the weekend.
Ian Linn
45 Posted 18/09/2014 at 19:14:46
Everton starting XI: Howard, Coleman, Baines, Stones, Jagielka, McCarthy, Barry, Mirallas, McGeady, Naismith, Lukaku.
Gerry Quinn
46 Posted 18/09/2014 at 19:21:55
Good to see that Everton are top of their group at the mo
Mike Green
47 Posted 18/09/2014 at 19:19:37
Linda #38 - in the sports world I'm sure a dead leg is a little more scientific but when we dished them out as youths they we're affectionately known as 'Grandad's'.

A classic move would involve sidling up to your target unseen, then knee them plum on the thigh muscle a third of the way up the leg above the knee - right on the bone. Precision more than power was the key, and when caught right sent your target hobbling off like a....well, the clues in the name.

Recovery time - anything from 5 mins to a day and a half.


Mike Green
48 Posted 18/09/2014 at 19:26:20
Next week - the low down on 'The Swack'..... :)

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