Europa League Preview
Everton's Europa League campaign moves to Lille with a second-successive away fixture in the competition following the draw at Krasnodar earlier in the month. Roberto Martinez's men sit on top of Group H going into the third round of matches and another good result on the road would enhance their chances of qualifying to the knockout phase.
Surprisingly, this will be the first time that the Toffees have faced French opposition in a competitive game but the location in northern France is one laden with history for the club given that former player Wilf Toman fought and died on the battlefields there in World War I along with the father and two uncles of Reverend Harry Ross, formerly of St Luke's and chaplain to Everton FC, who all survived the conflict.
97 years later, Evertonians will descend on Lille in entirely better circumstances and are expected to do so in large numbers. The club were given an official allocation of 5,000-plus tickets but an estimated 10,000 to 12,000 Blues are believed to have got tickets for the 50,00-seat Stade Pierre-Mauroy which should ensure an occasion not to be forgotten for both sets of supporters.
In addition to injured duo Kevin Mirallas and John Stones, Everton will be without four players for the trip across the Channel. Leon Osman and Steven Naismith are rested while Arouna Kone and Bryan Oviedo were declared by Martinez as not fit enough to take part. Oviedo played almost an hour of the Capital One Cup defeat at Swansea a month ago and made a late cameo at Manchester United two weeks ago but is clearly still feeing his way back to full fitness after nine months out with a broken leg. Kone, meanwhile, is still waiting to see his first action since knee surgery a year ago.
The absence of Osman and Naismith will mean at last two changes to the team that beat Aston Villa at the weekend, with Samuel Eto'o a possible starter as he was against Krasnodar, while Aiden McGeady, who also started that game, could come back into the side. Steven Pienaar could also play after coming on as a substitute last Saturday while Ross Barkley will be hoping to build on his first start of the season.
Everton are the only team to have won so far in Group H and a win over Lille would extend their lead at the top of the group and make them odds-on favourites to progress to the next phase. The Ligue 1 side have drawn both of their games so far and Krasnodar's 1-1 draw here last month offers something for the Blues to either emulate or better.
Like the Blues, they have had their injury problems this season and currently sit in 10th place in France's top flight, some 10 points off the top but Martinez suggested that his team's double-header with Lille could prove decisive for Everton in Group H.
"Lille are a team we respect and admire," he said in his pre-match press conference. They have had a few injuries and probably they are seeing tomorrow's game as the most important of their campaign. For us it is exactly the same, and it could be some sort of a little final within the group stage due to the importance of these games."
Romelu Lukaku will likely go up against compatriot Divock Origi if both Belgian start. The 19 year-old is the Great Danes' top scorer while Cape Verdean winger Ryan Mendes has weighed in with a couple of assists already so keeping those two players quiet could be key for Everton.
Kick off: 6pm
Reader Comments (75)
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1 Posted 22/10/2014 at 16:06:40
2 Posted 22/10/2014 at 16:08:09
3 Posted 22/10/2014 at 15:49:24
I donÂt know if itÂs my imagination, but we do not seem at all precise with injuries. This one has run and run. Perhaps after getting it wrong so often, the club are reluctant to say anything about Kone. But most clubs seem to give a clearer idea of injury recovery times. Mostly ours seem to drag on and on interminably (in addition to Kone, youÂve had Gibson, Oviedo, Alcaraz, Deulofeu for example). Every so often, we get someone back quicker than we thought- BarkleyÂs recent injury. But that seems the exception.
I noticed Mirallas is not being given a return date on the club site, but he only has a hamstring injury and normally you can be fairly precise about those once you know the scan results. Two weeks ago Martinez said he expected to Âhave him fully fit soonÂ. Maybe my definition of ÂsoonÂ is different.
Is there something wrong with the clubs medical expertise or am I over reacting?
4 Posted 22/10/2014 at 16:19:30
5 Posted 22/10/2014 at 16:06:45
6 Posted 22/10/2014 at 16:34:22
7 Posted 22/10/2014 at 16:37:42
8 Posted 22/10/2014 at 16:44:53
I expect to see a younger striker come in to replace EtoÂo when the time comes.
9 Posted 22/10/2014 at 16:40:46
Re the OP - I can understand Naismith being rested but would have thought the European games would have been made for Ossie - cannot see how he needs a ÂrestÂ. Guess RMs planning on starting both against Burnley. Good to see heÂs taking the game seriously, if we can avoid defeat there then the groupÂs ours for the taking with 2 home games to come. Obviously a win would be great but Lille are no mugs.
Looking forward to it either way..
10 Posted 22/10/2014 at 17:07:41
11 Posted 22/10/2014 at 17:17:24
12 Posted 22/10/2014 at 17:11:48
Or, to put it another way, gave Big Vic away for free and continued to pay his wages. Vic IÂm aware had many limitations, but was quite the handy player in the Europa.
Ah well, may as well give his squad number to someone else. Onward and upward in the Europa though, I would like to see EtoÂo grab a goal or two. Put your feet up, Naisy, and watch it on ITV4.
13 Posted 22/10/2014 at 17:20:01
After almost 18 months this is probably as good as KoneÂs knee will get, I am afraid. Unfortunately for him, the game is so fast now I canÂt see him playing at the top level again, for us or anyone else.
Re baby Bryan, I canÂt remember if this was before the screw went loose Â– he has played in a game, hasnÂt he? I know IÂm knocking on a bit but donÂt think I was dreaming. I thought it would be at least 4 weeks before he was back.
The problem I think is that Roberto is always telling us the best case to give some good news and we all get frustrated and fed up!
Hope everyone has a great time tomorrow and the players give the travelling fans a win!
14 Posted 22/10/2014 at 17:31:53
15 Posted 22/10/2014 at 17:25:04
IÂm having deja vu of ÂDanny WilliamsonÂ here with the... "Is he fit or isnÂt he??" It usual means you have to prepare yourself for some ominous news when the info the club puts out is so vague.
16 Posted 22/10/2014 at 18:03:19
Kicking him again while heÂs down is not the action of a true fan, although I do have sympathy with those who request up-to-date medical reports. Preferably from a senior member of the medical staff.
17 Posted 22/10/2014 at 18:41:41
Buying a jersey also springs to mind. The most basic and simple of commerce, and yet we ask fans in the US to stump up $120 to buy a proper shirt and have it shipped over. Insanity.
18 Posted 22/10/2014 at 18:31:20
19 Posted 22/10/2014 at 18:45:40
20 Posted 22/10/2014 at 18:48:36
I thought the likes of Baines, Barry and Lukaku were more viable alternatives than Naismith and Ossie to be left out so one can only assume they will start on Sunday or have had small knocks which need resting. Interesting to see the teams he fields in these two games and it looks like he will go strong in both.
21 Posted 22/10/2014 at 19:38:39
Amazes me that we can sign two injured players like Kone and Alcaraz and reject Leroy Fer on medical advice.
Maybe Moyesy was right about the medical staff...
22 Posted 22/10/2014 at 19:42:51
23 Posted 22/10/2014 at 20:08:44
I canÂt see us doing much in the Premier League... or in the FA Cup. So it could be our only chance of European football for a couple of seasons. And I think Roberto knows that.
24 Posted 22/10/2014 at 21:28:37
25 Posted 22/10/2014 at 21:26:55
26 Posted 22/10/2014 at 21:45:49
We dodged a bullet. Not a good player in the slightest.
27 Posted 22/10/2014 at 21:37:59
This will be a match of "high surveillance". The authorities are worried about the influx into the city centre of so many away supporters before the game.
There will be "hundreds of police officers" and about 500 riot police (CRS) on duty.
They will be targeting the estimated 500 or so supporters turning up without tickets. Furthermore, neither the purchase of alcohol to take away nor the drinking of alcohol in public will be allowed.
They have bitter memories of the visit of Eindhoven in 2011 when there were running battles on the Grande Place and the side streets.
Take it easy, Blues.
Scource: La Voix du Nord (French edition).
28 Posted 22/10/2014 at 22:00:28
30 Posted 22/10/2014 at 22:17:25
Kunal Â– Fer is a good player, mate. I think in a better side he would shine even brighter. Wonderful feet and smart on the ball. He can drive it forward too, which is something we cannot do without Barkley.
ItÂs actually something IÂd like to see much more of from McCarthy. He has the ability to be a far greater force going forward. I feel he takes the easy option way too often.
31 Posted 22/10/2014 at 22:34:55
32 Posted 22/10/2014 at 22:40:58
There are reports of Evertonians being attacked by French fans outside the Aussie bar in Lille then tear-gassed and cordoned off by police. Sounds like there were some injuries.
33 Posted 22/10/2014 at 22:37:22
McCarthy is there to recycle the ball and own the midfield. He does it very well and I donÂt think there is a desperate need to force him into the wrong position.
There arenÂt many players like Barkley, thatÂs why heÂs coveted.
IÂd be interested to see Besic with McCarthy in midfield with Besic being a bit more forward thinking but still a pitbull.
4-3-3? Barry, McCarthy, Besic; Pienaar, EtoÂo, Lukaku.
34 Posted 22/10/2014 at 22:47:25
35 Posted 22/10/2014 at 22:56:44
Giving Nessie a rest isnÂt so bad as he has worked his socks off this season and shown he can still get goals so we need him fresh for the Premier League at this stage with Kev out.
EtoÂo is invaluable and can fill in tomorrow but I thought Oviedo was fit again?
Pienaar and Gibson have bags of experience too and can do a job tomorrow. As for Osman, the less said the better.
36 Posted 22/10/2014 at 23:08:45
I also hope there isnÂt major trouble with over-zealous 5-O in Lille and an easy slaughtering in the media to follow blaming the fans...
37 Posted 22/10/2014 at 23:24:19
38 Posted 22/10/2014 at 23:43:25
Coleman Browning Jagielka Garbutt
McGeady Naismith Oveido
39 Posted 23/10/2014 at 00:38:09
Travelling with the blue army to foreign fields and representing our great club. And after hearing the latest on the welcome weÂve got from the locals, which by all accounts isnÂt very nice, I hope we twat the bastards. COYB
40 Posted 23/10/2014 at 01:20:27
I hear the leader of the Lille mob was yelling, "You ruined three years of Magaye GueyeÂs life!!!"
Hoping it wasnÂt as serious as some reports. I love booze but so many people in this world should not be allowed to partake. Lightweight poseurs.
Come in you Toffees. Freedom Fries for all!
41 Posted 23/10/2014 at 01:43:06
Leaving him and Ossie at Finch Farm suggests that Martinez has a definite plan in mind... but I hesitate to guess what it is. These two lads get in on the chances and have the the most attempts on goal. They also track back the whole length of the pitch to help foil the opposition and combine with both wings and fullbacks.
No room for passengers tonight. If everyone busts a gut, a decent result is possible. COYB.
42 Posted 23/10/2014 at 04:57:30
If I had said we should make wholesale changes because weÂll wipe the floor with them regardless, your response would be fair. All IÂve called for is a little caution with a very important player for us. IÂd say the same with Barkley, but Bobby left Naismith and Osman, the two players most likely to fill his role, at home.
43 Posted 23/10/2014 at 04:55:07
So, I think Bobby will go with:
Coleman Alcaraz Jagielka Baines
McGeady Barkley Pienaar
Subs: Howard, Hibbert, Distin, Garbutt, Gibson, Barry, Lukaku.
44 Posted 23/10/2014 at 09:07:48
IÂll be watching alone in a bar in Bangkok. Up the blues.
45 Posted 23/10/2014 at 09:29:32
I usually say fellow posters are entitled to their opinions but yours is just plain daft. Sycophancy doesnÂt begin to describe your blind faith in the guy.
46 Posted 23/10/2014 at 09:50:31
47 Posted 23/10/2014 at 10:23:58
48 Posted 23/10/2014 at 10:56:14
The fans of Everton are already many on Thursday morning in the city center of Lille. On the Grand-Place, some play ball, sing. Others have installed flags on the facade of the North Theater.
49 Posted 23/10/2014 at 11:09:36
51 Posted 23/10/2014 at 11:13:45
Disgusted by whatÂs happened. But it will not dampen the spirits off or on the pitch. This has gone from a draw would be good enough to a massive performance and three points.
That said, I agree with pete z that playing Coleman and Barkley so soon after injury should be done so cautiously. We need enough in the tank to take care of Burnley as well.
I hope all 12,011 blues return safely.
52 Posted 23/10/2014 at 11:32:43
Coleman - Jagielka - Alcaraz - Baines
McCarthy - Besic
Atsu - Barkley - Pienaar
In an ideal world, Garbutt getting on for Baines, and Barkley getting 75 mins and Browning / Gibson getting some game time in place of Coleman / McCarthy
But first and foremost lets win, a win here and we can start to tinker with the team and play the youngsters all we want towards the end of the group stage once weÂre already qualified. :-)
53 Posted 23/10/2014 at 12:00:02
54 Posted 23/10/2014 at 12:12:24
55 Posted 23/10/2014 at 12:24:57
56 Posted 23/10/2014 at 12:35:10
Burnley away on return, should also be treated likewise, a couple of wins will not only see us get back up the table (Prem) and also will boost confidence further, and see us start a decent run of results.
57 Posted 23/10/2014 at 12:32:36
58 Posted 23/10/2014 at 13:09:49
IÂm confident weÂll get a result, COYB.
59 Posted 23/10/2014 at 13:52:31
Coleman, Jagielka, Alcaraz, Baines
McGeady, Barkley, Pienaar
I was about to post this when I noticed itÂs the same team (bar goalie) that Ajay has put above. Though I think Atsu will be on the bench.
60 Posted 23/10/2014 at 13:45:37
Gavin (#15) Â– I think itÂs standard for clubs to insure playersÂ wages against injury but IÂve never heard of insurance for the transfer fee. I think weÂd just have to write off the ٤M...
Harold (#18) Â– I wasnÂt having a pop at Ossie; I meant that, if RM has ÂrestedÂ him, I would be surprised as the Euro games would suit him better, them being at a slower pace. Also, he hasnÂt played 90 mins in every game so should not really be knackered in October, despite his age.
I hope the fans who made it are okay and we come away with a result...
61 Posted 23/10/2014 at 14:11:50
62 Posted 23/10/2014 at 15:08:31
The club had better get some officials down there pronto and see the truth before the propaganda machine grinds into gear and whitewashed the real truth.
63 Posted 23/10/2014 at 15:11:58
Before Saturday, our best performances were the first 2 games of the season, and we also maintained a very high tempo in the 3rd against Chelsea.
How does this tie in with your theory that we were "undercooked" in pre-season?
Obviously we made some fatal defensive errors in these games to cost us points. Maybe if we had spent less time in pre-season on fitness and more on defensive drills, we wouldÂve won these games.
Maybe if we didnÂt suffer some freak injuries, we couldÂve kicked on and won a few more points.
Maybe Roberto did make some errors of judgement in pre-season that he would like to have done different - hindsight is a wonderful thing in football.
All conjecture, as football is not an exact science and is almost impossible to predict. I think what IÂm trying to say is that you have made your opinion (which I respect) known to every member of ToffeeWeb on several occasions, so feel free to stop spouting the same rubbish in every bloody threed - we get it ffs!!
P.S. Fairly comfortable 2-0 Everton COYB
64 Posted 23/10/2014 at 15:26:49
66 Posted 23/10/2014 at 15:28:20
67 Posted 23/10/2014 at 15:42:08
68 Posted 23/10/2014 at 15:51:58
1.) French thugs chance a pop at a few Evertonians minding their own business.
2.) Tensions increase.
3.) French police move in and resort to beating the crap out of anything wearing blue, men women and kids.
69 Posted 23/10/2014 at 16:20:45
71 Posted 23/10/2014 at 16:35:42
72 Posted 23/10/2014 at 16:43:27
73 Posted 23/10/2014 at 16:42:44
74 Posted 23/10/2014 at 16:36:41
Why did we play at a higher tempo for longer periods in our first 3 games if we were undercooked from pre-season?
If conceding late goals is an indicator of poor fitness, do the late goals/flourishes in the Liverpool, United, Krasnador and Villa games indicate improved fitness?
75 Posted 23/10/2014 at 16:40:05
DonÂt blame everyone over there for organized groups of thugs who are very probably not supporters. Unfortunately it’s the way things go when international games are played.
76 Posted 23/10/2014 at 16:44:53
As the saying goes Âput another record onÂ. YouÂre starting to sound obsessed. Even you in a moment of unusual clarity a few weeks ago said itÂs too early to make a call.
ItÂs been a mixed start but nothing a run of three or four wins wonÂt sort out. IÂm not a Roberto acolyte by any means. I believe he can be a little one-dimensional against the better sides letting games become to open, but some of the knee-jerk drivel being spouted is laughable.
77 Posted 23/10/2014 at 16:47:37
It is clear from early reports, that a section of LilleÂs residents attacked Everton supporters going about their lives lawfully; and since the violence has escalated where the police have fired tear gas and rubber bullets (something more akin to the previous troubles in Northern Ireland); there is no place for football in this violent atmosphere.
78 Posted 23/10/2014 at 16:46:59
Fuck the authorities, UEFA, the mayor of Lille and Platini Â– itÂs not against the law to drink. Why have bars in the first place?
This is anti-English racism and thuggery by the so-called authorities and they canÂt hide behind hooliganism because NOTHING happened to cause it apart from normal fan behaviour.
79 Posted 23/10/2014 at 16:59:22
Drink by all means, but to get pissed and attack the police? I donÂt think so. Tourists normally go to places and treat hosts with respect, not to take over a square with drunken yobos.
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