The appointment of Sam Allardyce has given ailing Everton a boost, but with a Merseyside derby on the horizon, Kevin Hatchard can't see the Toffees taking a meaningless trip to Limassol too seriously...
"Apollon have a very strong home record, while Everton have a huge game coming up, and will field a severely weakened side."
Apollon Limassol v Everton
Thursday 07 December, 18:00
Live on BT Sport Extra
Gritty Apollon keen to go out with a bang
Cypriot side Apollon have shown their fighting spirit in this competition, but ultimately Lyon and Atalanta have proven to be stronger, and will make it through to the last 32. Apollon grabbed 90th-minute equalisers at home to both clubs, and snatched a late leveller at Goodison Park in a 2-2 draw, even though they had only just been reduced to ten men.
Although Apollon are out, there is pride to play for, and avoiding defeat would see them finish above Everton in third place. Their home form is strong - they have won nine of their last 11 games in all competitions in front of their home support, and they haven't lost at home since last September. In the Europa League, they are unbeaten in nine games at the Tsirion Stadium.
After Big Sam's surge, Cyprus trip an unwelcome distraction
We've all been obligated to go to things we didn't want to at some stage, and like that leaving do for Colin in Accounts, Everton now have to travel to Cyprus for the deadest of dead rubbers. After taking just one point from their five games, conceding 15 goals in the process, Everton have nothing to play for.
The arrival of Sam Allardyce as manager has galvanised the club in general. This is a great opportunity for him to put the England debacle further behind him, and show that with significant resources at his disposal, he can be more than just a firefighter, not just an anti-relegation specialist.
With a Merseyside derby looming on the horizon, Allardyce will rest a whole host of senior players for this one, and a number of youngsters are expected to get a chance to show what they do. There may also be opportunities for some fringe players to impress their new manager.
Apollon worth backing, with a dose of caution
Apollon are the [2.34] favourites here, which is unsurprising given their impressive home record and Everton's abysmal Europa League displays. It won't be anywhere near a full-strength Everton side, so I'm happy to back the hosts to get a result. However, their propensity to draw games in this competition means I'll use the Draw No Bet market here, and back them at [1.72].
Allardyce influence makes the goals markets a conundrum
At time of writing there isn't much liquidity in the Over/Under 2.5 goals markets on the Exchange, but on the Sportsbook, overs is 4/5 and unders is priced at evens.
Everton's leaky defence has contributed to the fact that four of their five UEL games have featured at least three goals. However, since it was confirmed that Allardyce would be taking the reins, Everton have secured back-to-back clean sheets.
Six out of Apollon's last nine games have featured at least three goals, and intriguingly, none of their last 12 home matches in the UEL have featured fewer than two goals.
Back Apollon Draw No Bet at [1.72]
2017 Europa League Group Stage P/L
Points Staked: 33
Points Returned: 36.56
P/L: +3.56 points