Having seen off the minnows of Ruzomberok in their first competitive games of the new season, Everton must now overcome Hadjuk Split in the Europa League playoff round. Everton qualified for this competition thanks to their 7th place finish in the Premier League last season. With the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool and Manchester City all above them, 7th was the best Everton fans could realistically hope to achieve.
Everton’s opponents in this match are Hadjuk Split of Croatia. Hadjuk Split entered this competition at the second qualifying round stage, so have played plenty of matches to reach the playoffs. Hadjuk Split have seen off Levski Sofia and Brondby to reach this stage of the tournament.
The Premier League season kicked off last weekend and Everton started with a good 1-0 home win over Stoke City. The only goal of the game was scored by the returning Wayne Rooney and this will give the England international a great boost ahead of the new campaign. The win over Stoke City was Everton’s third of the new season having defeated Ruzomberok 1-0 in both legs of their previous tie in the Europa League.
That means Everton are yet to conceded a goal in 3 matches this season. Everton have lost only 1 of their previous 11 games at home, which was against Premier League champions Chelsea last season. They have lost only 1 of their last 7 home Europa League games, winning the other 6 matches.
Hadjuk Split Form
Hadjuk Split currently sit second in the Croatian top-flight having defeated Slaven Koprivnica 1-0 at home on the weekend. They are currently 3 points off the leaders, Dinamo Zagreb having won 3, drawn 1 and lost 1 of their 5 matches to date. Conceding goals has been a bit of problem and Hadjuk Split have allowed 7 goals in those 5 games.
In the Europa League this season, Hadjuk Split have won 3 and drawn 1 of their 4 games. They won both home legs 1-0 and 2-0 respectively and picked up a 2-1 win in Sofia before being held 0-0 in Brondby. Hadjuk Split would welcome a repeat of that 0-0 score line at Goodison on Thursday night.
Everton are expected to line up in a 4-2-3-1 formation but Ronald Koeman may make some changes with Manchester City to come in the Premier League on the weekend. Seamus Coleman, Yannick Bolasie, James McCarthy, Ramiro Funes Mori and Ross Barkley are all injured. Hadjuk Split have a fully fit squad and will start the game in a 4-3-3 formation, although the wide players will be asked to track back. Nikola Vlasic, Marko Futacs and Ante Erceg will play in the attacking positions.
Top Betting Tips
Everton have the superior talent and home advantage; therefore, they must be backed to win this match. Ladbrokes offer 2/7 for a home win. However, with Koeman expected to make changes, this may not be a straight forward night for Everton. Avoiding an away goal will be key to Everton’s plans and this may result in a narrow victory. Everton win the match by 1 goal is 11/4 with Ladbrokes. Having kept a clean sheet in all 3 games so far this season, expect more of the same from Everton in this match. Everton to win 1-0 is 5/1 with Ladbrokes.