Sandro is doubtful with an injury
Everton's two-part quest to qualify for the Europa League group stage begins this evening as they take on Hajduk Split at Goodison Park.
The Blues welcome the Croatian side for the first leg which could be crucial to their chances of progressing given that the return leg in Split is likely to be a tricky assignment in a more intimidating atmosphere than was the case in the small environs of Ružomberok's home ground in the last round.
Indeed, Hajduk should pose a sterner test all the way around for Everton. Though they are not the force they were in the mid-1980s when the Toffees were also enjoying a heyday, they come from a country with a rich tradition of producing impressive footballers.
While most of the superstars of the Vatreni played for Dinamo Zagreb, Ivan Perišić was born in Split and started out in their youth system before making his way to the top in Italy via France, Belgium and Germany; reported Everton target Nikola Kalinić spent four years with Hajduk from the age of 17; goalkeeper Danijel Subašić played almost 100 games for them; and both Slaven Bilić and Nikica Jelavić started their careers with the club.
Ronald Koeman's men should be better prepared now than they were in the two drab Third Qualifying Round games when they were still in the throes of a truncated pre-season programme, although they could be two men down in terms of numbers. Gareth Barry, a late substitute in the second leg has left for West Bromwich Albion (he would have been ruled out with a minor injury anyway) while Sandro Ramirez is doubtful because of a knock he took in the Premier League opener against Stoke last weekend.
Koeman spoke in his press conference as if he expected the Spaniard to miss the game which would leave him with just two striking options in the form of Wayne Rooney and Dominic Calvert-Lewin. The latter will feel he earned his spot by grabbing the winning goal in Slovakia earlier this month and, if he is picked, supporters will feel he has a better chance of justifying his selection by playing in his natural position at centre-forward.
James McCarthy is still not fit while new signing Gylfi Sigurdsson won't feature in the game but is almost certain to be paraded before the home fans either prior to kick off or at half-time.
Perhaps one of the most eagerly anticipated aspects of the game is whether Koeman will have another crack at trying to make the three-man central defence with wing-backs system work and, if so, who will get the nod on the right flank. Tom Davies was given the brief against Ružomberok with limited success while Calvert-Lewin was, somewhat surprisingly, tried there against Stoke.
Given the attacking instincts he has shown in his two outings so far, Cuco Martina looks like he could slot into the role, as could Mason Holgate just as easily, but it remains to be seen whether the manager will opt of a flat back four with the Curaçao international at right back.
Up front, Kevin Mirallas could be the beneficiary of Sandro's misfortune by starting for the first time in three games.
Hajduk, meanwhile, will be without their main striker Márkó Futács. The Hungarian, who has had spells in England with Portsmouth and Leicester City in the past, has scored 22 goals in 29 games for the Croatian club since last year but misses this first leg through injury.
In any case, Hajduk's Spanish manager, Joan Carrillo, is expected to adopt a very defensive posture for this one which is typical in away legs by unfancied teams hoping to keep it tight in the away leg and spring a surprise in the return game on their home turf.
Everton should, on paper, have enough for the side that finished third in what is a league dominated by Dinamo Zagreb and Rijeka but they will probably have to again be patient and take their chances when they fall their way.
Kick-off: 8.05pm, Thursday 17 August, 2017
Predicted Line-up: Pickford, Martina, Keane, Jagielka, Baines, Schneiderlin, Gueye, Klaassen, Davies, Rooney, Calvert-Lewin
* The game is being shown only in Croatia on HRT 2 and in the Middle East by beIN Sports but Everton look set to stream it live on their YouTube channel
Full details: ToffeeWeb Match page
Reader Comments (89)
Note: the following content is not moderated or vetted by the site owners at the time of submission. Comments are the responsibility of the poster. Disclaimer
1 Posted 17/08/2017 at 08:31:39
Hoedt, I thought we were interested.
Southampton offered 15m for him , are we out of the running ? Maybe he wants guaranteed 1st team football.
2 Posted 17/08/2017 at 08:45:08
I can't help thinking that if it was Liverpool playing a qualifier BT and their Liverpool heavy employees would be all over it.
3 Posted 17/08/2017 at 08:46:08
4 Posted 17/08/2017 at 08:51:28
5 Posted 17/08/2017 at 08:56:33
6 Posted 17/08/2017 at 08:58:42
The away leg will be a tricky tie so we need to be going over with a minimum 2 goal cushion.
7 Posted 17/08/2017 at 09:07:09
It can be a very hit and miss stream but for me it has worked more often than not.
8 Posted 17/08/2017 at 09:08:42
I am hoping for 2-0 .but I am nervous. This is a MASSIVE game for our season and progress generally and we're not firing on all cylinders at all at the moment.
9 Posted 17/08/2017 at 09:16:01
10 Posted 17/08/2017 at 09:27:31
No value in backing Blues but the draw might yield a decent return !
11 Posted 17/08/2017 at 09:31:57
12 Posted 17/08/2017 at 09:48:15
13 Posted 17/08/2017 at 09:51:09
Only other place I could find it is HRT TV2 which is a public Croatian tv channel good luck getting that lol.
YouTube is good tho.
Didn't see it getting shown on any of the bein sports channels but that may have changed last couple of days.
14 Posted 17/08/2017 at 10:06:04
I had a dream the other night that we was actually drawing 1-1, (47 years of age an am still dreaming about the toffees?) I was actually playing in this game but couldn't get a kick, and then the final whistle blew. I was gutted with both the result and my own performance, and then I heard the commentator say that it was a very convincing 4-0 win for Everton!
We don't look like we have got many goals in us, but tonight I'm going with "Guitar George" and hope he's playing the harmonica, to celebrate his bet coming in!
15 Posted 17/08/2017 at 10:07:48
16 Posted 17/08/2017 at 10:12:18
As David Ellis so correctly stated, it is imperative not to concede at home, as the away tie will be a cauldron of majority hostile home support.
Like someone else mentioned, I can't see loads of goals from us, hope I'm proved wrong on that one.
Which is why I said I was edgy, please, please do not play Schneiderlin and Gana at home, I'd go with Gana all day, and drop Schneiderlin to the bench. Also do not play the dodgy Martina at right-back, go for Kenny or even Jags.
I can't see him risking Sandro, if he's carrying a minor injury, with the City game 5 days away either, but hopefully we should have enough experience and firepower from other areas.
17 Posted 17/08/2017 at 10:32:15
18 Posted 17/08/2017 at 11:11:27
totally agree. very important game to shape our season. Can't afford an away goal, as I don't think we have the firepower to win games more than 2-0 at the moment.
happy to be proved wrong though
19 Posted 17/08/2017 at 11:18:18
20 Posted 17/08/2017 at 11:20:26
21 Posted 17/08/2017 at 11:20:38
Alan #15. It's not on any of the BT Sport schedules I can see.
22 Posted 17/08/2017 at 11:21:37
23 Posted 17/08/2017 at 11:23:42
24 Posted 17/08/2017 at 11:28:40
Cuco Keane Jagielka Baines
Idrissa Schneiderlin Davies
Stek, Williams, Holgate, Kenny, Besic, Mirallas, Lookman
I'm hoping Kenny comes on to add some pace & quality delivery.
Lookman & Mirallas on to cause some trouble in the second half.
25 Posted 17/08/2017 at 11:30:43
Wasn't too convinced against Stoke, I can see DCL becoming a good player but he's not ready to lead the line yet and doesn't work on the wing.
Hoping to see Rooney's experience play its part.
Tough opponents !
26 Posted 17/08/2017 at 11:40:28
I don't want to hear excuses about the squad being light when we have just spent 45m on one player.
Anything other than a comfortable win is unacceptable considering the finances Koeman has had at his disposal.
27 Posted 17/08/2017 at 11:45:00
2..0 Everton away leg scrappy 1..0
Loads of moaning about how boring we are to watch.. Koeman out
28 Posted 17/08/2017 at 11:45:36
29 Posted 17/08/2017 at 11:45:53
Looks like dodgy stream it is :(
30 Posted 17/08/2017 at 11:47:08
32 Posted 17/08/2017 at 11:57:16
Kenny, Keane, Jags, Baines
Klaassen, Rooney, Lookman
Don't think RK'll go for starting with Lookman and Kenny though so probably Schneiderlin and Martina instead.
On a separate point, which may have been mentioned elsewhere, did anyone notice Pickford's reaction to the low shot by Fletcher that just missed the post on Saturday. He did this half-dive where he ended up on his knees, then looked at the Stoke fans and crossed his arms as if to say 'Whatever'. I'm falling in love with the man, he really could be our next Big Nev.
33 Posted 17/08/2017 at 12:02:28
34 Posted 17/08/2017 at 12:34:07
Can anyone briefly let me know how Klaassen is doing. I had high hopes for this lad. From what I've read, he seems a bit underwhelming and appears to be another one who picks the simple pass. Keane and Pickford seem to be doing well, as is Rooney in patches from what I gather.
Also, I'm really surprised by stuff I've read about Schneiderlin. I thought he was excellent for us when he first came in. Has he been terrible so far? I would be interested to get people's thoughts.
35 Posted 17/08/2017 at 12:45:08
36 Posted 17/08/2017 at 12:52:39
Schneiderlin, seems to have gone off the boil, and Koeman insists on playing him and Gana together, it simply isn't working. Gana is still covering every blade of grass, but his passing needs to improve, but Schneiderlin has somehow gone negative and is slowing, already slow buildups, with sideways or backwards passing.
With so many new faces, I don't think any of us, expect instant transition and success, but there are some good signs, notably Pickford in goal, and Michael Keane, they seem to have bedded in so easily, and play as if they have been with us for us for ages.
I do hope we all get to see the game, from whatever source, hope you enjoy too Craig, and the ones I have exalted, don't have a stinker, likewise, Klaassen and Schneiderlin, should they play, both have blinders.
38 Posted 17/08/2017 at 13:05:57
39 Posted 17/08/2017 at 13:08:39
40 Posted 17/08/2017 at 13:10:55
41 Posted 17/08/2017 at 13:27:58
We need DCL and Lookman for their pace and Rooney for his brain if we're going to get any chances in this one.
42 Posted 17/08/2017 at 13:38:32
43 Posted 17/08/2017 at 13:41:45
I don't think he is ready for the role on a permanent basis, and likewise, I don't think Prem games should be used to blood him in.
I am fairly confident, or should I say, optimistic, that a decent front man will be with us before the window closes, albeit, a tad late, but better late, than not at all.
44 Posted 17/08/2017 at 13:49:38
45 Posted 17/08/2017 at 14:03:24
What I would like to know is where to watch the away leg. Edit: just spotted above that it's on ITV4
46 Posted 17/08/2017 at 14:08:21
47 Posted 17/08/2017 at 14:09:08
48 Posted 17/08/2017 at 14:37:43
49 Posted 17/08/2017 at 14:38:56
one adult one junior (11 and under).
The tickets are printable so I can email. If you want them just email me... steven dot morley dot uk at gmail dot com - firstname.lastname@example.org
first come first served. Unfortunately going to have to watch on youtube tonight due to a quickly arranged family holiday.
50 Posted 17/08/2017 at 14:41:18
Tonight we must be lethal and hopefully no Keystone Kops defending, from the defence.
In adversity we can find strength and I really do hope he plays DCL up front from the start and he continues his development and grows his confidence and also Lookman gets a decent chance as well.
Confidence boosting is key and let's look forward to the match with genuine optimism.
51 Posted 17/08/2017 at 15:09:10
I would play Lookman Mirallas and DCL up front and tell them to go for it every time they see a chance.
52 Posted 17/08/2017 at 15:23:26
I always thought youtube was just for 12 year olds to post crap videos of minecraft etc
53 Posted 17/08/2017 at 15:24:24
54 Posted 17/08/2017 at 15:27:15
55 Posted 17/08/2017 at 15:27:28
The club don't have the rights to sell. UEFA do. And sell as a package.
56 Posted 17/08/2017 at 15:30:30
On the positive side I reckon Sigurdsson will be introduced at some point, hope so anyway.
On the negative side the club will be marking the 10th anniversary of poor Rhys Jones' tragic death. I say negative only because even after 10 years the senseless loss of life of someone so young under such awful circumstances always makes me feel so angry.
57 Posted 17/08/2017 at 15:35:21
I have watched games before in Arabic, with the sound turned down, but somehow, it never seems to be the same, although a silent stream, is better than no stream at all.
58 Posted 17/08/2017 at 15:48:52
59 Posted 17/08/2017 at 15:49:58
BeIN sports 11 has it with English commentary but I guess you need a paid iptv sub for it.
60 Posted 17/08/2017 at 16:07:47
61 Posted 17/08/2017 at 16:09:39
No membership or anything. Just search for Everton FC. You need to change your perception of YouTube have a search through there's lots on there. When I pine for the glory days I can even relive them via YouTube!
62 Posted 17/08/2017 at 16:23:20
They all look really nervous as they sup beer in the sun. I think they are expecting to be massacred and are only here to say they had been to Goodison!
63 Posted 17/08/2017 at 16:42:14
I've heard of 20/20 vision, and besides, I must have told you a million times, not to exaggerate.
Hope you're right about the massacre, but think unless they show a video of Culloden at half time, can't quite see it, then again I might need to go to Specsavers.
64 Posted 17/08/2017 at 17:04:58
Just come out of Lime St station, where 2-300 very well behaved Had Split fans are sitting quietly in the sun, surrounded by a handful of police.
Didn't see one person drinking ANY alcohol, wonder whether it's a religious thing, or simply too expensive in the UK?
Answers on a postcard please...
65 Posted 17/08/2017 at 17:13:21
66 Posted 17/08/2017 at 17:54:15
Let's hope for those that cannot get to the game this isn't an ominous sign for the live broadcast on the Everton YouTube account going tit's up...
68 Posted 17/08/2017 at 18:01:28
Split €1.84 EUR
As Ray @ 65 has eluded to no drinking = clear head if it kicks off!
The Eastern European Ultra's love a good ruck and a lot of the time they do it sober to ensure they give a good showing...
69 Posted 17/08/2017 at 18:07:01
YouTube also has a fabulous array of highlights that I often watch when I'm away from home, you can bask in all our former glories!
70 Posted 17/08/2017 at 18:11:30
71 Posted 17/08/2017 at 18:19:13
72 Posted 17/08/2017 at 18:19:46
73 Posted 17/08/2017 at 18:26:33
74 Posted 17/08/2017 at 18:28:59
76 Posted 17/08/2017 at 18:35:57
We seem to crash and burn against anyone we feel a weird sort of inferiority complex to: notably the five goal collapses against Dinamo Bucharest, Benfica and Dynamo Kiev.
It's time we shook off this 'we are not worthy' mentality and started making our mark in Europe. We have captains, international captains, a squad packed full of multi-million pound internationals and even a world cup winner - and still I detect a low level of confidence about these two next Europa games amongst fellow Evertonians. Why?
Is it just a heightened awareness of our own capabilities and fallibilities, or do the likes of Liverpool and United get these jitters too? They don't appear to and always seem to use their reputation to give them a psychological edge over any opponent.
Sadly, we cannot seem able do that yet and have had 50 years - half a century - of almost constant under-performing in Europe (1985 excepted). But we've got to start somewhere. Let's do it tonight?
Hajduk Split are a known name, but should we be in awe of them? Respect yes... trepidation NO.
They certainly haven't boosted their squad by £150m so far this transfer window have they!
So I hope the team are mentally up for this and realised that we are a multi-million (so-called Premier League) powerhouse and they, with all due deference, have earned their reputation by constantly being amongst the best of a low-grade eastern European league.
That has enabled them to qualify for 214 games in Europe, including every Europa League competition since its inception in 2009/10.
That's three times as many games overall as us, but let's put that into perspective.
They've only once got as far as the group stage in all that time. And they finished bottom - winning one and losing their five other games.
Stoke beat them home and away in the qualifying round in 2011/12 and they have also been dispatched by such luminaries as Zlina (Slovakia), Dila Gori (Georgia), Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk (Ukraine), Slovan Liberec (Czech Republic), Maccabi Tel Aviv (Israel) and Inter (Italy).
Of those 14 games, they have won just two, drawn two and lost the remaining ten.
I'm not suggesting our track record is any more meritorious, but if we don't impose ourselves from the kick-off tonight and for the 180 minutes that follow in both games, there can be no excuses.
They have a reputation far above their actual status and the likes of Rooney, Klaassen, Shchneiderlin, Keane, Baines, Pickford, Jagielka, Gueye and whichever other high-profile, fabulously paid colleagues join them need to be fully mindful who we are, and who they are. And appreciate the gap in ability, expectation and reputation.
Make this the first of a very big series of steps Blues and start putting Everton back on the map.
Let them do all the worrying about us for once and let's get people in awe of us for a change - starting tonight.
77 Posted 17/08/2017 at 18:41:35
78 Posted 17/08/2017 at 18:48:27
79 Posted 17/08/2017 at 18:48:31
For me today I think any jitters come from an uncertainty in our attack. After the first three games we have yet to develop a cutting edge. We all hope DCL can stamp his authority but he is so young it almost feels mean to expect too much of him. Rooney is a natural born scorer and may pick one off from around the box , but even he isn't a focal,point any more.
With all,the games to come I will continue feel jittery without a recognised top striker .
Anyway here's to DCL scoring and (another) clean sheet !
80 Posted 17/08/2017 at 18:55:10
Lookman and Mirallas in for Sandro and DL-C.
Some pace in the side at least.
81 Posted 17/08/2017 at 18:58:40
82 Posted 17/08/2017 at 19:03:11
83 Posted 17/08/2017 at 19:06:56
84 Posted 17/08/2017 at 19:06:58
But we've got to banish it for good and break the shackles permanently sometime?
If we don't do it tonight, when will we do it?
85 Posted 17/08/2017 at 19:09:28
86 Posted 17/08/2017 at 19:12:01
87 Posted 17/08/2017 at 19:13:09
88 Posted 17/08/2017 at 19:14:50
89 Posted 17/08/2017 at 19:16:01
90 Posted 17/08/2017 at 19:28:17
91 Posted 17/08/2017 at 19:36:47
92 Posted 17/08/2017 at 19:38:27
93 Posted 17/08/2017 at 19:39:19
Add Your Comments
In order to post a comment, you need to be logged in as a registered user of the site.
Or Sign up as a ToffeeWeb Member — it's free, takes just a few minutes and will allow you to post your comments on articles and Talking Points submissions across the site.