Following their seventh-place finish in last season’s Premier League standings, Everton kick start their European adventure on Thursday, as they take on Slovakian side Ruzomberok. Despite losing top goalscorer Romelu Lukaku to Manchester United, optimism is high at Goodison Park, with the likes of Wayne Rooney, Davy Klaassen and Michael Keane having joined the club so far this summer.
The Premier League side are among a group of top teams that have entered this stage of Europa League qualifying, with their Slovakian opposition unlikely to cause Ronal Koeman and his men too many issues.
For those looking to place a bet on the match, there are plenty of markets aside from backing Everton for an outright win, which will not bring in substantial earnings. Let’s take a closer look at the two teams, along with our top betting tip for the match.
Everton Team News
Ronald Koeman could well hand competitive debuts to a number of his summer signings, with Rooney, Klaassen, Keane and Spanish striker Sandro having all impressed during pre-season. Everton won their opening two pre-season fixtures, before drawing with Belgian side Genk in their latest match.
The Toffees were one of the most consistent teams in England last year, however a substantial overhaul means that it may well take some time for players to gel on the pitch. As well as this, Everton have previously come unstuck in European qualification encounters, however Ruzomberok should not cause the home side too many problems on Thursday evening.
Ruzomberok Team News
Ruzomberok finished third in the Slovakian top-flight last season, and have made it through to the third round of qualifying thanks to victories over FK Vojvodina and SK Brann. “Ruza” have never made it through to the first-round proper, and lost their opening Slovakian Super Liga match at the weekend, going down 2-1 to Zlaté Moravce.
Bosnian international Nermin Haskić is a new signing for Ruza, having previously starred for Zilina and Kosice. Despite not having any household names in their playing squad, Ruzomberok will look to make things difficult for Everton at Goodison Park, in order to give themselves an outside chance for the second leg at the Štadión pod Čebraťom next week.
Top Betting Tip
Given the significant gap in talent between the two teams, it is difficult to look beyond a comfortable home victory on Thursday. With the attacking prowess of Wayne Rooney and Kevin Mirallas, it could well be one-way traffic at Goodison Park. As a result, backing Everton to ‘win to nil’ is our top betting tip, which can be found at best odds of 8/15 at bookmakers Ladbrokes.