Europa League Preview
Davy Klaassen stayed at Finch Farm with Sandro Ramirez has both nurse foot injuries
Everton's hopes of qualifying for the group stage of the Europa League and guaranteeing their involvement in the competition until at least December rest on their ability to protect a two-goal first leg advantage in Split this evening.
Ronald Koeman lamented his side's inability to pad the 2-0 lead they had established over Hajduk by half time in the first leg but he knows that a disciplined display and the kind of defensive solidity that has been a characteristic of their season so far should see them through.
Once again, the Dutchman won't be able to call on Sandro Ramirez who continues to battle a heel injury and is therefore a doubt for Sunday's trip to Chelsea as well.
Another new signing, Davy Klaassen, has also stayed behind on Merseyside after picking up a knock in Monday evening's 1-1 draw at Manchester City. James McCarthy, a potential deputy for the former Ajax man, is also ruled out, with Koeman not expecting to see him back in contention for a place until after the upcoming international break… that is assuming he isn't thrown back into action prematurely again by Martin O'Neill.
The rest of the squad should remain unchanged, although Jonjoe Kenny joined the first-team on the plane to Croatia offering another back-up option at right back.
How Koeman approaches the game, both in the context of containing tonight's opponents but also with another tough away assignment in the Premier Leaque just three days later, will be interesting. Sandro's absence means that both Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Wayne Rooney could end up playing three times in the space of a week leading the line.
Idrissa Gueye, meanwhile, will likely be called upon to do the same, with the added responsibility of partially covering for Morgan Schneiderlin on Sunday given the Frenchman's suspension and importance in defensive midfield.
It opens an opportunity for Mohamed Basic, perhaps this evening against Split, while the likes of Kevin Mirallas and Ademola Lookman will be hoping to get a look in after being overlooked at the Etihad on Monday. And will Gylfi Sigurdsson be deemed fit enough to make his first start or will he be kept in reserve for Stamford Bridge?
Hajduk, who have lost only one of their last nine home games in European competition, showed in the first leg that they can be accomplished in moving the ball around and are comfortable in possession to a much greater degree than was the case with Ružomberok in the previous round.
In Hamza Barry they have an industrious midfielder who looked to cause the Blues problems at Goodison last week but they will be without the injured Franck Ohandza, himself a deputy for main target man, Márkó Futács. His replacement, Ahmed Said, helped himself to a hat-trick in Hajduk's 4-0 win over Rues this weekend, however.
The key for Everton will be remaining patient and keeping the ball as long as possible to manage the clock, control the tempo and frustrate their hosts in what promises to be an intimidating atmosphere inside Stadion Poljud.
Kick off: 8pm, Thursday 24 August, 2017
Predicted Line-up: Pickford, Holgate, Keane, Williams, Baines, Gueye, Schneiderlin, Davies, Rooney, Mirallas, Calvert-Lewin
The game is being televised live on ITV4 in the UK and on ESPN in the US, Caribbean, Latin America, New Zealand and Australia
Reader Comments (102)
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1 Posted 24/08/2017 at 06:52:51
2 Posted 24/08/2017 at 06:57:14
Tough first half with a 0-1 second half winner to follow once more would be pleasing. A celebrating England-less Wayne to orchestrate our entry into the group stage.
3 Posted 24/08/2017 at 07:06:02
McCarthy's injury issue and Koeman's response, as reported above, indicates to me that he is staying. After looking at the performance of the mid field sector to date that is no bad thing. Hopefully Besic gets a run tonight, he has gone through hell with injury and deserves a break.
4 Posted 24/08/2017 at 07:11:59
Thought I'd get in early before all the negativity starts. COYB!
5 Posted 24/08/2017 at 07:21:59
6 Posted 24/08/2017 at 07:25:29
7 Posted 24/08/2017 at 07:35:33
8 Posted 24/08/2017 at 07:46:59
Good luck to everyone in Croatia for this one (team and support), it could get a bit messy.
9 Posted 24/08/2017 at 07:48:00
11 Posted 24/08/2017 at 08:00:55
I'm usually very big on performances. they are often as important as the result to me. Not tonight.
Get in... get the result... and get out.
12 Posted 24/08/2017 at 08:06:38
I worry about Besic given the ethnic tensions which came to a head in the region 20 years ago.
13 Posted 24/08/2017 at 08:21:14
The important thing for me is playing on the front foot as surely us scoring ends the tie. If we score in the first half we can then take players off in second to protect them.
14 Posted 24/08/2017 at 08:25:31
Just have to hope that Koeman leaves his 'crazy tactics' manual at home and lets the lads get on with it !
15 Posted 24/08/2017 at 08:30:35
Mirallas and Lookman to come in and maybe Gylfi for an hour.
Hopefully go 1 or 2 up as early as possible then give key players a rest.
16 Posted 24/08/2017 at 08:30:43
Bit seriously, I echo some of the other posts. Get through, leave as quickly as possible and most importantly, every Evertonian comes home safely and without incident.
17 Posted 24/08/2017 at 08:34:35
I would have left him at home.
Another solid performance will see us through and I hope that there are no unsavoury incidents off the pitch too.
18 Posted 24/08/2017 at 08:40:29
19 Posted 24/08/2017 at 08:59:02
20 Posted 24/08/2017 at 09:09:43
21 Posted 24/08/2017 at 09:16:56
22 Posted 24/08/2017 at 09:33:39
23 Posted 24/08/2017 at 09:35:13
My sentiments too , Besic could get sent off for a rash tackle.
They will be diving all over the place clutching their knees and holding their faces.
They will be waving their hands in front of the referee and using the full repertoire of histrionics to get men booked and sent off. The crowd will be screaming at the ref to take action.
We need to be ultra professional , hard and fair. Lyndon's predicted line up looks about right .
Additionally we need to hope the ref is not a bottler!
24 Posted 24/08/2017 at 09:43:23
25 Posted 24/08/2017 at 09:45:17
26 Posted 24/08/2017 at 09:53:32
Holgate Keane Williams Baines
Gueye Schneiderlin Siggurddson
Rooney DCL Lookman
If Siggurddsson is not eligible then its between Davies and Besic with the former being the safer option!
27 Posted 24/08/2017 at 09:54:21
28 Posted 24/08/2017 at 09:56:37
I am sure he will play some part tonight , but we need to consider how we can get hold of the odd long ball clearance and keep it in their half . In games like this I feel not having the slightly more experienced striker is a defeciency and a missing link for us. DCL and or Lookman will find it hard work. It will be a massive boost to them if they have a good game.
29 Posted 24/08/2017 at 10:28:51
IF he plays..... having lived there and having learnt much, he will be well aware of any potential hostility, and I would expect him to be man enough and mature enough to ride it out. He also has the benefit of some thoroughly experienced and influential guys around him who will be sure to keeping an eye out.
What worries me is if they manage to grab an early goal, and it will all then get a bit squeaky. However, we grab a goal it's game over - can't see them scoring 4. Then just see it out calmly and get home without incident. Whatever the result we must get home without incident, of course, but hopefully with a safe pass into the group stages.
Looking forward to the game as always. COYB
30 Posted 24/08/2017 at 10:51:14
31 Posted 24/08/2017 at 10:51:22
Holgate Keane Williams Baines
Lookman Sigurdsson Mirallas
32 Posted 24/08/2017 at 11:10:36
33 Posted 24/08/2017 at 11:25:23
34 Posted 24/08/2017 at 11:31:24
Much as I understand the attraction, he does seem to me to be something of a cult player. He's more often than not injured, and when he does play he's a bit of a liability, likely to get himself booked, give the ball away, or do something rash.
Also, where does he actually play? He's one of those players that doesn't really have a defined role/position. Us Evertonians are a romantic bunch, and Besic is one of 'those' players
37 Posted 24/08/2017 at 11:59:24
Regulation 42.07 includes the following cut-off dates for registration of Player lists.
d. 7 August 2017 (24.00CET) for all matches in the play-offs;
e. 1 September 2017 (24.00CET) for all further matches from the first match in the group stage up to and including the final.
The Transfer Window closes this year at 23.00 on 31st August, so we have a day to add any latecomers to the list for Group Stages. As far as I know, we can register up to 3 players for knockout stages, who weren't registered for Group Stages.
The regulations state that the lists be compiled by a competent club official !
38 Posted 24/08/2017 at 12:22:25
Martina Williams Keane Baines
39 Posted 24/08/2017 at 12:25:39
I see Sigurdsson in a training photo from yesterday's session. Sorry for all the 'fake' news. Just hope we don't get excluded for playing a 'banger' .
41 Posted 24/08/2017 at 12:45:10
I totally agree; Besic has done little to justify the faith some people appear to have in him. His game is unstructured and he's always a wild tackle away from a red card.
43 Posted 24/08/2017 at 13:18:21
I don't care about the weekend, we should only care about getting through to the group stages.
Full team, but I expect 5 at the back and Lookman/Mirallas in there for a quick break.
44 Posted 24/08/2017 at 13:20:54
However, he was a stupid tit on Monday when DCL and him were 2 on 1 near the end of the game, soft ollies trying an elaborate back heel when the thick twat should have just squared it.
There is certainly a time and a place for that shite (read Bolasie too) and the arse end of a game that is 1-1 isn't it.
45 Posted 24/08/2017 at 13:50:06
46 Posted 24/08/2017 at 13:50:16
47 Posted 24/08/2017 at 13:53:33
48 Posted 24/08/2017 at 13:56:01
The Champions League is the holy grail just ask Lukaku and if we are not in it we don't exist. Throw everything at a 4th place finish and swerve the Europa League like the plague. Please don't say the winners of the Europa League get in to the Champions League. Can you honestly see us winning it after playing around 900 games with this squad? No me neither. Hope we get knocked out.
49 Posted 24/08/2017 at 14:15:49
I'd expect the same line up as last Thursday. Rooney up top and with Lookman and Mirallas.
Sigurdsson will come in for Klaassen as he's injured and as you were.
DCL will be kept back as an option. Expect to see Everton set up exactly like City away at Chelsea with Sigurdsson in for Schniederlin.
A clear plan. Not a particularly exciting one but thats his way.
55 Posted 24/08/2017 at 14:55:27
56 Posted 24/08/2017 at 14:58:17
57 Posted 24/08/2017 at 15:04:37
Is there anyway we had 'signed' Glyfi before that cut off? á la Man City and Stones? I remember it only hit the press that City signed Stones when he was recorded in their squad list.
58 Posted 24/08/2017 at 15:05:12
I'm not necessarily predicting a huge aggregate win as they are a gutsy team and playing on their home patch, but they have to attack us and can't just sit back and this will open up space. Looking forward to this one!
59 Posted 24/08/2017 at 15:07:26
I would go for a controlled game but higher up the pitch and look for an away goal.
2-0 is no lead to sit back and defend for 90 mins in a hostile pressure cooker environment.
60 Posted 24/08/2017 at 15:18:02
61 Posted 24/08/2017 at 15:24:53
Let's hope that the travelling blue army have a safe and enjoyable time.
62 Posted 24/08/2017 at 15:25:25
Running forward at near full pelt, didn't really leave him with many other options, other than trying to get hold of the ball with City defenders, streaming back. On another night, possibly after a run in the side, he might have got that ball back to Lewin, and everybody would have been rejoicing with a fantastic bit of improvisation?
That's how I saw it anyway, and think if we can learn to pass the ball better all over the park, then we will become a good team?
Tonight won't be easy, but when we do get through, I'm not convinced are squad is big enough to cope with the demands that have come with this extra spending. Let's hope it isn't finished yet.
63 Posted 24/08/2017 at 15:38:09
64 Posted 24/08/2017 at 15:43:12
65 Posted 24/08/2017 at 15:51:26
66 Posted 24/08/2017 at 15:51:54
Don't know how true it is, but I've heard there is a big Serbia flag, flying round, with the words Everton Youth, in the middle of it.
If that's true, then all's I can say is... I predict a riot.
67 Posted 24/08/2017 at 15:54:41
68 Posted 24/08/2017 at 16:10:00
69 Posted 24/08/2017 at 16:15:23
Just reading on the beeb site. Hadjuk Split sitting second in their league after a 4-0 win over bottom club Rudes. Their striker, Said, in for the injured Ohdanza scored a hat trick and starts tonight evidently.
Hope Ron's got our back line up to speed. I predict they will come at us after that second half last week' so a nervy night - but we should be ok. I predict 1-1, maybe 1-2 but that will be enough. If we play like we did first half against City, we'll coast it.
70 Posted 24/08/2017 at 16:16:06
Thomas Gravesen single handedly took us to 4th place and the cusp of the Champions League. He left in January of that season, and we had 43 points. Afterwards we scraped 18 more and finished poorly with a 7-1 hammering at Arsenal and total of 61 points. He also joined Real Madrid such was his form.
I fell in love with the player when I saw him against Preston NE in a pre-season friendly just after he signed. He came with a reputation of a tough-tackling defensive midfielder. A tag he never quite shook off. In the Preston game, he scored a lovely dink over the keeper, which highlighted his technique and control.
Gravesen had the most exquisite touch, he could control anything hit in his direction and his long passing was exemplary. His signature move was the disguised reverse through pass, wrong footing the defence and creating many goals.
Gravesen came from HSV (Hamburg) and in those days most sides played the old fashioned German formation. This meant use of the sweeper, the Beckenbauer role. To be precise, the great Lothar Matthaus retired from international football only in the summer when Gravesen joined us (2000).
This is very significant. The germans had one of the greatest ever passers of the ball in Matthaus (remember a young Matthaus was part of the Bayern side who we beat in our greatest night). The idea was he would play as a playmaker who operated behind the defence and would hit 80 yard passes to the channels or to the striker. Because Matthaus was who he was, the position was still effective, although it has long since been confined to the history bin.
Gravesen was HSV's sweeper. When we signed him we struggled to find a position for him. He played as a central midfielder, a central defender, a sweeper (once), and then a defensive midfielder. The problem was what he was used to, that is time on the ball, less condensed space, people to pass too much further away, and an opposition defence sat very deep. He also played in a side that would use David Unsworth at left back, and David Weir at right back. Unsworth loved to hit a crossfield pass of his own, 70 yard scud missile passes. I recall reading the press report of one game in either the independent or the guardian where it said the problem with Unsworth was that he "insisted on playing 70 yard passes to the ghost of Duncan Ferguson"! It makes me laugh even to this day, and it was not wrong. Gravesen would run around like a headless chicken because Everton and often the opposition would smash long balls over his head. Tommy didn't like for games to pass him by and he would do whatever he could to get himself in the game and so often picked up silly yellow cards, or got himself the ball in places that he could do nothing with it.
Moyes identified Gravsen's stregths, and set the blue print in that one great season he had, for what was to follow. A luxury player, supported by hard running players who were designed to get the ball to him and then move into space to receive it.
We played a 4141 formation, with the hard working Marcus Bent upfront, James McFadden operating from the bench. Tim Cahill frequently broke from a central midfield position and ran as much as anyone. Cahill and Gravesen were central with Carsley sweeping up behind them as a defensive anchor. Kilbane was usually left and Osman right and they would play narrowly.
Gravesen was a flawed footballer, rash in the tackle, poor at timing them, tempestuous and lacking in positional play. But when he worked in tandem with Stig Tofting or Lee Carlsey and could concentrate on his attacking side of the game, then we saw a sublime player who elevated an average side to great heights.
71 Posted 24/08/2017 at 16:20:47
72 Posted 24/08/2017 at 16:29:09
Let's hope if Besic does play then he has his best game in a blue shirt.
73 Posted 24/08/2017 at 16:31:39
Besic charges all over the pitch, kicking anything that moves. He cannot pass short. His passes long go out of play. His tackling is passable, but he is too reckless and concedes far too many fouls. He's not bad in the air defensively, but he is too small to be really effective (he lacks a Cahill leap). His control is poor. His decision making is atrocious. He does not read the game well. He is often out of position. He does not comprehend his role in the team. He does not follow the orders of his manager. He panics in possession and is easily dispossessed.
He's simply not good enough, and never will be.
74 Posted 24/08/2017 at 16:41:25
Mainly it's for Bosnia I've been impressed with his energy and decision passing against top international teams when he has not been lacking in any area.
Having said all that I hope he doesn't play tonight as that is just another likely reason for the scum that have managed to get us a charge by the corrupt bastards that run Uefa, to really flare up on their own turf as they crash out of the tournament.
75 Posted 24/08/2017 at 17:04:03
76 Posted 24/08/2017 at 17:04:24
77 Posted 24/08/2017 at 17:06:02
78 Posted 24/08/2017 at 17:07:43
79 Posted 24/08/2017 at 17:10:53
80 Posted 24/08/2017 at 17:15:13
Isn't it a sad state of affairs when you've got to hide your allegiance instead of celebrating it and enjoying a jolly!
81 Posted 24/08/2017 at 17:28:46
He is a brave player when he dies things like that and I respect that. I feel sorry for Besic and his injury record. I hope he will have a long spell without injuries. He deserves that.
But I am still not convinced that he has got the skills needed. Hope he proves me wrong. And I hope that Gana is rested tonight and Besic plays next to Schneiderlin. I think that would be good squad management.
82 Posted 24/08/2017 at 17:52:11
83 Posted 24/08/2017 at 17:53:40
84 Posted 24/08/2017 at 17:53:57
85 Posted 24/08/2017 at 17:58:08
be carefully what you wish for. The behaviour we are hearing about and witnessed at Goodison Park would not be tolerated by Uefa in The Champions League. Trouble is no-one gives a shit about this competition. Hope the lads all get home safe.
86 Posted 24/08/2017 at 17:59:56
'"There won't be any trouble in Split tonight."
"Because Dogs don't shit where they eat!!"
87 Posted 24/08/2017 at 18:03:06
88 Posted 24/08/2017 at 18:05:11
Being in it always bleeds the life out of every club's league challenge and it brings in peanuts even if you're relatively successful, unless you win it.
Add that to the fact that because it later becomes a consolation prize for clubs not good enough to do well in the CL, thereby bloating an already bloated number of participants, and it really is only a piss-take of an effort by a voraciously greedy UEFA.
I mean ffs, there must be football fans in their own country who like us have never heard of teams like Ruzomberok, Siroki Brijeg, Differdanga and many other such clubs among the 190 (yes, 190!) qualifiers for this season's effort.
89 Posted 24/08/2017 at 18:07:17
91 Posted 24/08/2017 at 18:12:42
On the other hand, there should be some great chances of Euro jollies (they won't all be like tonight's).
I can see both sides of the argument.
94 Posted 24/08/2017 at 18:24:58
But seriously wanting Everton to lose if we had to lose? Don't think we have to lose'anything. I hope we go all the way, as been pointed out many times Champions League is Wed-Sat, Europa Thu-Sun, it's no excuse for poor league form, that's what the squad is for. I just hope Ronny boy is up too the task.
Also, I reckon the 1,400 fans out there may disagree a little bit more with you than I have.
Marsh- "hope we get knocked out".
I'm not even getting started on this one.
95 Posted 24/08/2017 at 18:31:27
I will echo Graham's sigh as well. If we are playing more games it means we are doing well. The Europa can be a hard slog but also excellent experience.
What is the difference between playing Wednesday & Saturday or Thursday & Sunday? In either league, it is two games a week.
96 Posted 24/08/2017 at 18:40:07
I know it's now a few years ago but when Moyesy got us to the quarter-finals after travelling all over Europe to do it the net profit to the club was all of £400K, and that's all (but maybe I have too much faith in the published accounts admittedly!). By way of comparison Sunderland got £98mill for coming bottom last season.
98 Posted 24/08/2017 at 18:48:04
99 Posted 24/08/2017 at 18:50:55
100 Posted 24/08/2017 at 18:54:35
101 Posted 24/08/2017 at 18:55:14
102 Posted 24/08/2017 at 18:59:29
103 Posted 24/08/2017 at 18:59:52
104 Posted 24/08/2017 at 19:00:21
105 Posted 24/08/2017 at 19:01:35
106 Posted 24/08/2017 at 19:02:16
107 Posted 24/08/2017 at 19:03:53
What gives with Besic in practically every post, I didn't know he was that popular.
I mentioned a few days ago that I would target this Comp. because I think that we have more chance of winning it than coming in the top 4 in the Prem.
Doubt very much that we can play our first team in both competitions and do well, its not an easy decision to make I admit, but I think the right one.
108 Posted 24/08/2017 at 19:10:33
109 Posted 24/08/2017 at 19:11:01
You can't very well not mention it when Lukaku's current team only landed a Champions League place (and, by extension, landed him) by virtue of winning the very same competition you say we should sack off straight away.
For my money the Europa League represents our best chance of qualifying for the Champions League ahead of schedule. I don't see how finishing fourth is a more realistic proposition with our current squad, no matter how much we narrow our focus this season.
Then again, I never understand why we get the exact same whining about fixture congestion and fatigue every time we compete in Europe. Yes, it means more games, but surely to fuck the manager and players have all cottoned on to that fact if the fans have. The news hasn't exactly been dropped on the club out of the blue.
European qualification was Koeman's stated aim at the start of last season. He achieved it. He's had the close season to plan, prepare and strengthen the squad to compete on multiple fronts. Time to show he might actually be worth the multi-million pound salary and make a start changing the 'merely making up the numbers mindset' Everton have been saddled with for far too long, by going out and having a serious fucking go at every single competition this season.
If we truly want to compete in European competition on a regular basis then we have to learn to handle the load at some point.
110 Posted 24/08/2017 at 19:12:48
That's not to say he's never rash, of course. Hopefully we'll see the best of him tonight.
111 Posted 24/08/2017 at 19:13:02
Besic is a conundrum. There is obviously some fight in the dog, but he is inclined to do some daft things, at the wrong time.
As Siggy was displayed to the crowd last Thursday, I assume he was registered before any UEFA deadline, contrary to some opinions on here. The club must have checked and double checked not to place us in any jeopardy.
We have to manage Rooney better. He can't be expected to play every minute of every game.
A nice mix of youth and experience on the subs bench.
We score once, they have to score four. Ain't gonna happen.
112 Posted 24/08/2017 at 19:16:45
List A has to be submitted by the following fixed deadlines:
a. 19 June 2017 (24:00 CET) for all matches in the first qualifying round;
b. 7 July 2017 (24:00 CET) for all matches in the second qualifying round;
c. 21 July 2017 (24:00 CET) for all matches in the third qualifying round;
d. 7 August 2017 (24:00 CET) for all matches in the play-offs;
e. 1 September 2017 (24:00 CET) for all further matches from the first match in the group stage up to and including the final.
42.08 For the three qualifying rounds and the play-offs, a club may register a maximum of one new eligible player on List A after the above-mentioned deadlines, provided the quota of locally trained players is respected. Such registration must be completed by 24:00 CET on the day before the relevant first-leg match and the club's association must confirm in writing that the new player is eligible to play at domestic level at this time.
113 Posted 24/08/2017 at 19:16:53
Ah thanks Brent, I didn't read down that far. Well done. Legal job for you.
114 Posted 24/08/2017 at 19:20:01
115 Posted 24/08/2017 at 22:13:21
I think in the modern game a lot of daft things happen in games even from the better players. It's hard to judge Besic at times but I have a feeling Koeman seems to be finding a place for him.
116 Posted 25/08/2017 at 07:40:13
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