Thursday night returns. The Europa League returns. Everton are in action at home against the tricky Croatian outfit Hajduk Split. They are joined by the likes of AC Milan, Fernabache, Dynamo Kiev, Ajax, Athletic Bilbao and Marseille as the hunt for Europa League qualification heats up. Join us as we sip around the potential banana skins and suggest a 23/1 treble that could see Stan fall flat on his face!
Sweet Success for Koeman's Toffees!
Bate Borisov v PFC Oleksandria
Bate should have a little too much nous for their Ukranian opponents as the experienced European campaigners host a team sampling European competition for only the second time. The visitors scrapped past Astra, winning by a solitary goal whilst Bate only dropped out of the Champions League qualifiers on away goals after drawing 2-2 against Sparta Prague.
That said, this could be a nervy encounter for the hosts, who have found goals hard to come by. Typically solid, the two teams could cancel eachother as Oleksandria will look to keep things tight themselves. The potential for a 0-0 is there, but we're going for a 1-0 home win at 100/30. We'll also have a little tickle on their being under 2.5 goals at 2/5.*
AC Milan v KF Shkendija
The San Siro is one of world football's iconic arenas. AC Milan one of the world's iconic teams. The days of Milan dominating European football may be gone, for now, but the Italian giants are determined to reach the pinnacle once again. Having spent around £170 million this summer, the Rossoneri will expect this Milan team, regardless of who plays, to sweep aside their Macedonian opponents. And, quite frankly, so do we. Whilst Milan have one of the richest histories in European football, Shkendija have one of the poorest, having only qualified for the first time in 2011/12. They were hammered 6-1 by Genk last time out, which shows the sheer scale of the task at hand. On paper, at least, there hasn't been this big a mismatch since David took on Goliath a while back!
Skendija have scored in their last four Europa League away games, bu we can't see them breaching this Milan defence, which was assembled at a cost of £103 million during the summer; Ricardo Rodriguez, Mateo Musacchio, Andrea Conti, and Leonardo Bonucci all moving to the San Siro. An easy Milan win: 1/9.
Everton v Hajduk Split
Everton, under Koeman, are building a real team under the Dutchman and the acquisition of Siggardsun, which may have come too late for this game, is a bright and shrewd move. Goodison, never an easy place to go at the best of times, will be rocking under the floodlights and Hajduk Split will need to silence the crowd if they are going to get a foothold in this game. The return of Wayne Rooney has captured the imagination, and whilst Lukaku's departure in the other direction is a blow, they have invested funds wisely in Sandro Ramirez. Davy Klassen is another class act in the centre of the park.
Split come into the game battle-hardened, having already played five league games and four Europa League games, with a record of six wins, two draws, and one defeat. The visitors are currently second in the Croatian League, three points behind leaders Dinamo Zagreb after losing away to them 3-1. Goals on the road have been an issue for the visitors and whilst Everton may not replicate that scoreline, we'll take the Toffees to win to nil at 6/5. In fact, make that 2-0, 19/5.
Our featured treble: Bate to win 1-0, Milan home win, and Everton to win 2-0 returns £240 from a £10 stake.*
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