Lincoln v Everton: Imps can enjoy set-piece supremacy

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LINCOLN welcome Premier League outfit Everton to Sincil Bank for an EFL Cup 2nd Round contest on Wednesday night.  James O'Rourke (@JamesOR1) analyses the odds on offer.

Lincoln v Everton | Wednesday 28th August 2019, 19:45 | Sky Sports

It came as no surprise to see Lincoln versus Everton quickly selected for television coverage after it was drawn out of the hat in the EFL Cup 2nd Round draw.

After all, Lincoln have been on a real crest of a wave ever since Danny Cowley entered the club. He, alongside assistant, Nicky, are now in their fourth season in charge at Sincil Bank, during which they’ve overseen two promotions, an EFL Trophy title, and guided the Imps to the FA Cup quarter-finals, which remains the best performance in the competition by a non-league club. The only thing missing has been a run in the EFL Cup, and they’ll be relishing the chance to face the Toffees.

Whilst Lincoln have suffered back-to-back away league defeats to MK Dons and Doncaster, that does not tell the entire picture. At Stadium:MK, the Imps were made to pay for a poor start, but still achieved over 60% possession and just shy of 30 shots on goal in the game. Cowley himself claimed that box-to-box it was arguably their best performance under his tenure.

Another productive display followed in Yorkshire at the weekend; a display which in League Two last season would have surely earned three points. Still, it has been a solid start to life at this level, and a free hit against a Premier League side is very much a bonus, especially given their lack of squad depth.

Everton, on the other hand, have very much had an inconsistent start to the current campaign. Three Premier League games has yielded a draw, a win and a defeat. All three have been tight, low-scoring contests, and one thing is for certain, all the pressure is on the Merseyside club in Lincolnshire on Wednesday evening.

Marco Silva will be more than aware of the expectations from the supporters to have a real go at the cups, and despatching lower league opposition is the minimum expected on the night.

It will come as no shock to see Everton as odds-on shots to progress in 90-minutes, but keeping my Lincoln hat on for a second, I just can’t back against them in a cup competition having witnessed what I’ve seen over the past few years. I’m talking triumphs over Burnley, Brighton and Ipswich, and whilst that was a few seasons ago and no players remain from that period, this club just cannot be written off on an occasion like this.

Also, remember that these two met last season in the FA Cup at Goodison Park, where a full-strength Everton only edged past Lincoln 2-1. The Imps have only lost once at home in 2019, whilst Everton’s away record, albeit at a much, much higher level, in the same period has been sketchy to say the least. Lincoln have lost two games in a row, and they have never lost three in succession in the Cowley era. Considering he is coming up to 200 matches at the club, that is some going!

Of course, Everton should prevail if they ‘turn up’, but there is still a degree of vulnerability about them. I do think this is a small stakes kind of game.

Last season, no Premier League team conceded more goals on set-pieces than Everton. Lincoln have 10 league goals to their name so far, seven of which fall under the category of set-piece, which does include a couple of penalties. Jason Shackell is anything but a prolific goalscorer, but he has set-piece goal to his name at Sincil Bank already this season and will be a big target whenever a ball comes into the box from such a situation.

The 18/1 for Shackell as an Anytime Goalscorer (Unibet) is a fun little bet for this game.

Best Bets

Lincoln v Everton – Jason Shackell to score at anytime (18/1 Unibet)

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