Europa League Preview
Romelu Lukaku is the second-highest goalscorer in the Europa League
(OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images)
Thanks to the weird dichotomy between Everton's domestic and European form, Thursday nights in the Europa League have become occasions to look forward to and the Blues now step into the Round of 16 this evening to take on Dynamo Kyiv* under the lights at Goodison Park.
The dead rubber against Krasnodar aside, the home matches in European competition have been among the few highlights of the season, with Wolfsburg, Lille and Young Boys all comfortably despatched to the tune of 10 goals for and only two against. It's performances like those that mean that the visit of the Ukrainian league leaders is not quite as daunting as it ordinarily might be.
Hopefully, the Grand Old Lady will be full — surprisingly, tickets for the first Continential Round of 16 fixture at Goodison since the agonising defetat to Fiorentina eight years ago were still on sale yesterday — and the crowd up for it as the Blues look to pick up a solid win and a clean sheet to take to Kyiv next week.
Roberto Martinez has identified Kyiv as an attacking side and, providing Sergei Rebrov hasn't done his homework too exhaustively and opts to park the bus instead, that should play nicely into Everton's hands. An open game should allow the Blues to play to the strengths of Kevin Mirallas — a likely starter given that Aaron Lennon is cup-tied — and, of course, Romelu Lukaku.
The latter Belgian is the second-top scorer in the Europa League this season and will be looking to add to his tally if the midfield can open up the right kind of supply lines. In that sense, the manager has a decision to make in central midfield where Darron Gibson was inspired in the second leg against Young Boys but then less impressive at Stoke in an Everton display that was flat all the way around.
James McCarthy is surely a certain starter so it remains to be seen whether Martinez opts for Gareth Barry and Gibson at the expense of someone like Steven Naismith further forward or opts for a more attacking shape.
Leon Osman is unlikely to start but could make the bench again if he overcomes his latest knock. Both he and John Stones will be assessed prior to the game, with Antolin Alcaraz ready to step in should the latter not make it because of a virus. Luke Garbutt is in line for a fourth successive start in the continuing absence through injury of Leighton Baines' (quad) and Bryan Oviedo (hamstring). Steven Pienaar, Tony Hibbert and Aiden McGeady are also ruled out.
The Ukrainians, meanwhile, have been boosted by the eligibility of danger-man Andriy Yarmolenko who can play after having a three-match ban reduced to one by Uefa. Midfielders Younès Belhanda and Serhiy Rybalka are both suspended, though, and another of their pacier, more dangerous players, Jeremain Lens ( a rumoured Martinez target at the World Cup last summer) has been ruled out.
This week's Champions League matches may have seen some stirring second-leg performances by away teams — Schalke almost shocked Real Madrid at the Bernabeu and Paris St Germain knoked out Chelsea in dramatic fashion on away goals — but won't want to travel to Ukraine without a lead in hand like they did against Metalist Kharkiv a few years ago.
That night they needed some rare heroics from James McFadden and (arguably) an equally rare powerhouse striking performance from Victor Anichebe to win the tie. Given how well they have played on the road in the Europa League thus far, they won't feel over-awed should they need to win on Kyiv's home turf but nothing will beat posting a 2-0 or better victory tonight to set us up for the return leg.
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Reader Comments (21)
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1 Posted 12/03/2015 at 04:15:46
2 Posted 12/03/2015 at 04:26:35
3 Posted 12/03/2015 at 04:44:55
I'm in Australia and for the Europa games I install a VPN (e.g. Zenmate), set it to say I'm in the UK and then I can watch it on the itv website. Otherwise use Phil's suggestion
4 Posted 12/03/2015 at 05:30:45
5 Posted 12/03/2015 at 06:52:47
If that's a bit too fiddly, I generally find good quality streams (without scores showing) a few hours post-game on matchhighlight.com OR fullmatchesandshows.com
8 Posted 12/03/2015 at 07:36:05
12 Posted 12/03/2015 at 08:03:40
I mostly use
May also be worth a try, though I haven't used it yet for a match.
There's normally up to half a dozen streams on offer, though normally only maybe 3 actually work.
The actual streams normally become active around an hour before kickoff.
I also use Chrome as my browser and deploy their adblocker, that way the irritating pop up shyte is minimised.
Also, by removing the HDMI cable from the "SKY Box" or Virgin or whoever, and slotting that into my laptop my Dad & me watch the game on his big screen. OK so the quality isn't exactly HD, but he thinks it's just fine.
(Removing the HDMI cable won't stop you recording/saving all the usual stuff while you watch the match).
Hope that's useful.
14 Posted 12/03/2015 at 09:52:46
16 Posted 12/03/2015 at 10:03:32
17 Posted 12/03/2015 at 10:42:57
I've used it for several years when abroad and works brilliantly.
18 Posted 12/03/2015 at 11:26:45
19 Posted 12/03/2015 at 13:51:27
20 Posted 12/03/2015 at 14:15:47
21 Posted 12/03/2015 at 15:03:25
22 Posted 12/03/2015 at 15:08:24
23 Posted 12/03/2015 at 16:24:57
24 Posted 12/03/2015 at 16:30:32
25 Posted 12/03/2015 at 17:06:54
26 Posted 12/03/2015 at 17:36:02
27 Posted 12/03/2015 at 16:41:07
28 Posted 12/03/2015 at 18:03:15
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