Toffees To Torture Lille Thursday Night
Lille v Everton
Everton can put one foot in the Europa League knockout stages with a win against Lille this Thursday night.<--more-->
A solid start to the season for Lille has tapered off somewhat in recent weeks with a 3-0 defeat in Lyon followed by a 2-1 loss at home to Guingamp on Saturday. Before the weekend defeat, Les Dogues had not conceded a home goal in five Ligue 1 games this season, and had conceded just twice on the road prior to the defeat in Lyon.
The conclusion is that maybe the wheels are starting to come off ever so slightly for René Girard’s team and that this is a good time for Everton to be playing the French club.
That belief is backed up by Everton’s own form starting to turn in the right direction. Saturday’s 3-0 win against Aston Villa was the Toffees’ first in six matches, but comes on the back of an unfortunate defeat at Old Trafford, where they played well and were unlucky to lose, and a 1-1 draw at Anfield.
Romelu Lukaku was back on the scoresheet at the weekend, bagging his first goal in seven games for club and country, while Phil Jagielka also scored to get his third in six games for Everton and England.
Everton sit atop of Europa League Group H with four points from two games, while Lille are second after draws with FC Krasnodar and Wolfsburg.
Liverpool-bound striker Divock Orgi was sent back to Lille on loan immediately after signing for the Anfield club and has scored four goals so far this season, including one against Wolfsburg in the Europa League last time out; he will pose the biggest threat to Everton’s defence.
John Stones and Kevin Mirallas are Everton’s only absentees going into this game, with Ross Barkley’s return from injury at the weekend proving instrumental. Roberto Martinez has fielded a relatively strong team throughout the tournament so far, and with the opportunity to take control of the group with a win here I don’t see any reason why he would be tempted to alter that philosophy.
The two clubs are yet to meet in a competitive fixture, but the Toffees may be able to get an inside line from former Lille player Kevin Mirallas who began his professional career with the French club. This will be the first time in Everton’s history that they have faced a team from France.
It is often advisable to approach Europa League clashes, particularly at the group stages of the competition, with plenty of caution. However, the 23/10 being offered about an Everton win looks too good to turn down as two teams traversing contrasting form lines meet.
If you prefer to approach the bet with more caution, then you can find 11/8 about the visitors in the Draw No Bet market, or even 8/13 in the Double Chance betting.
Just a few weeks ago I would have been suggesting that Under 2.5 goals at odds of 8/13 is a no brainer, but given Lille’s recent defensive fallibilities and the fact that Everton games this season have tended to produce plenty of goals, my advice is to go with the generous 23/20 about there being more than 2.5 goals at Stade Pierre-Mauroy this Thursday night.