COULD this be the end of the English adventure in Europe this season? Chris Graham (@chrisgraham79) previews the Everton game for us.
Dynamo Kiev v Everton | Thursday 18:00 | ITV4
As someone who felt Everton could finish in the Top 4 this season, I'm probably not the best placed person to comment on their Europa League endeavours, but I'm here to amuse you.
In fairness to myself, I have done alright in predicting how they'd fare in Europe's secondary club competition. While they've been floundering in the Premier League, I always felt this competition provided the club with a safe-haven, a no-man's-land area where no bullets (criticism) would be fired at the club. To be the last standing English club in Europe must give the club a timely boost.
From a pure form perspective, their group results are arguably the best we've seen in the competition this season. Beating 4/1 (Ladbrokes) tournament favourites Wolfsburg home and away by an aggregate score of 6-1 merits massive respect. Russian side Krasnodar and 2013/14 French high-flyers Lille were also in that group so it was a tough set of fixtures.
Kiev had a a much easier draw (AaB Aalborg, Steaua and Rio Ave), but cruised through their group with five wins out of six. French side Guingamp were their Last 32 opponents, and while it wasn't easy, they did prove too strong in the end.
After seeing off Young Boys in the Last 32, Everton hold a 2-1 lead going into this second leg but leaking that away goal could prove crucial.
Kiev have one of the most impressive records in Europe at the moment. They sit seven points top of their domestic league with no defeats to their name after 17 matches.
On home turf things get really wow. Eight clean sheets in their last nine matches, P14 W12 D2 L0 overall, they cut a hugely impressive figure.
Betting is all about odds. It's all about price. If you don't get that, you'll never be a success at this game. I've supported Everton throughout this competition, and I want to continue, but from a price point of view, I have to desert them here.
I didn't expect Kiev to be as big as 6/4 to qualify. An outstanding intimating home record, eight clean sheets in their last nine games at the Dynamo Stadium and with that crucial away goal under their belt, a 1-0 win will be enough to send them through. It's a price I can't ignore.
Dynamo Kiev v Everton – Dynamo Kiev to qualify (6/4 BetVictor)
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Sounds good, huh?