EVERTON’s Europa League campaign restarts with a trip to Switzerland. Mark O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) highlights the best betting opportunities from Thursday night’s fixture with Young Boys.
Young Boys v Everton | Thursday 18.00 | ITV4
Everton topped a tricky Europa League group including Wolfsburg, Lille and Krasnodar to reach the Last 32 with Roberto Martinez’s men suffering just the one defeat on their way to topping the pool. That came in their final group game against the Russians with the Toffees boss opting to field a weakened side having already guaranteed progression.
On the road, the Merseysiders collected draws in Krasnodar and Lille as well as a 2-0 smash-and-grab victory at Wolfsburg. But Martinez’s men make the journey without a host of first-teamers; Leighton Baines, Steven Pienaar, Aiden McGeady, Tony Hibbert, Leon Osman and Aaron Lennon have stayed at home and Everton are still searching for their best form.
The Toffees travel to Switzerland on the back of a run of just one victory in their last 11 Premier League matches and they’ve failed to score in four of their last seven away from Goodison Park. What’s more, the Premier League outfit have been beaten in six of their last eight matches on the road. Eeek.
Yet the bookmakers have chalked up the English visitors as favourites for this first leg tie and that’s just not fair on the Swiss hosts. I’m not going to succumb to any of the blatant and obvious jokes surrounding ‘young boys’ as I feel a case of defence is required, in their favour.
The Bern-based club are eight points adrift of table-topping Basel in their domestic league but their record at the Stade de Suisse is nothing short of outstanding. Of course, it’s helped by the artificial surface deployed at Stade de Suisse but even still, Uli Forte’s charges have now won their last seven Europa League games as hosts.
That wining streak included a comprehensive despatching of Napoli and keeping clean sheets in all three of their group games in Berne. Despite not topping Group I, Young Boys still racked up more points than the Toffees and can also call upon decent domestic form too.
Forte’s team went into their mid-season break having reeled off seven successive victories in all competitions, and a draw and a win in the league since their return to action has set them up nicely for the visit of Everton. See, they’re an impressive side, eh?
Young Boys are available to back at 6/5 (Coral) in the Draw No Bet market and that looks more than fair, for us punters. I remain a big fan of Roberto Martinez and the project he’s looking to implement with Everton but I just can’t digest the fact the Toffees have been given favouritism for this clash. I’ll invest faith in the Swiss side, knowing the draw is onside for insurance.
Young Boys v Everton – Young Boys draw no bet (6/5 Coral)
How do you see this first leg tie panning out? Will Everton have a nasty night ahead on the artificial surface?
We’d love to hear your views so let us know in the comments box below!