EVERTON are Britain’s sole survivor in the Europa League but can they take a first leg lead in this Last 16 tie against Dynamo Kiev? Mark O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) previews the big game for us.
Everton v Dynamo Kiev | Thursday 20.05 | ITV1
It’s around 15 years ago since Dynamo Kiev could call upon the fearsome strike duo of Andriy Shevchenko and Serhiy Rebrov and although the White & Blues no longer boast such luminaries, the Ukrainians remain awkward opponents in continental competition.
They won’t admit it publically but Everton won’t have been too pleased with their Last 16 draw. The Toffees are looking to make it to the last eight of a European competition for the first time in 30 years and will know overcoming Kiev in Ukraine will be no easy task.
So that means Thursday night’s clash at Goodison Park carries extra significance. The Merseysiders are languishing in 14th in the Premier League table with only four wins from their past 21 games in all competitions. It’s an unacceptable run of form that’s seen Roberto Martinez’s men slide towards the relegation zone.
Yeah, Everton have performed admirably in the Europa League this season when comparing their domestic efforts but it’s difficult to have faith in this Toffees team in their current plight. Martinez deserves credit for giving the Europa League the attention it deserves but most neutrals would suggest Sunday’s game with Newcastle should be higher on his agenda.
The aforementioend Rebrov is now in charge of his boyhood club and has instilled the winning attitude across the club once more. After years of soul-searching in the shadow of Shakhtar Donetsk, Dynamo are back where they believe they belong.
Kiev arrive having lost nine of their previous 11 winless ties on English soil but the Ukrainian table-toppers have won six of their eight Europa League contests this term and remain unbeaten at their NSC Olimpiyskiy home, highlighting the task that awaits Everton for the return leg next week.
Despite that unwanted record in England, Kiev have secured an impressive W12-D1-L2 return on the road in 2014/15. However, defeats in Guingamp (OK, they had nine men) and AaB Aalborg both came in the Europa League and rekindles the suspicion that Eastern European clubs don’t travel well.
But it’s very difficult to side to find the confidence to side with Everton so I must oppose the Toffees. We can back Dynamo at 3/4 with Betway in the Double Chance market and that appeals. Dieumerci Mbokani can cause the dodgy home defence plenty of problems and with the likes of Andriy Yarmolenko, Jeremain Lens, and Younès Belhanda providing the ammunition, the visitors are capable of getting a result at Goodison.
Everton v Dynamo Kiev – Dynamo Kiev double chance (3/4 Betway)
Is Mark right to oppose Everton? Will you be backing the Toffees in Thursday night’s clash?
We’d love to hear your thoughts on the game so let us know in the comments box below.